Greipel Wins Second Consecutive Stage of Vuelta
Andre Greipel (Columbia) has won his second consecutive stage of the 2009 Vuelta. The German sprinter took a bunch gallop to win Stage 5, a rolling, 174-km ride from Tarragona to Vinaros in 4:27:54. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) finished second, and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) finished third. The finish line bonuses that Greipel has earned have propelled him into the overall lead.
The riders, who had faced cold rain during the first four stages in the Netherlands and Belgium, endured heat of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat, however, did not stop six men from making an early escape. They were Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel), Juan Antonio Lopez (Andalucia), Julien Fares (Cofidis), Jose Sanchez Pimienta (Contentopolis), Mattheus Pronk (Vacansoleil), and Serafin Martinez (Xacobeo). The sextet led by two minutes at 15 km and kept opening the lead until the peloton woke up.
With 40 km remaining, the bunch led the break by less than two minutes. Rabobank took over at the front, and Pronk, the last holdout, was reeled in with 18 km left.
With 10 km to go, Davide de la Fuente (Fuji) attacked on the unrated Alto de la Hermita. Philippe Gilbert (Silence) countered and led the field by 0:22 at the summit. Three km later, the bunch began to get organized, and Gilbert's lead began to drop. With three km left, Gilbert was reeled in.
With one km remaining, Stage 2 winner Gerald Ciolek (Milram) crashed. Boonen charged into the lead, but Greipel came off of his wheel with 100 m left to win.
In the overall, Greipel leads Boonen by 0:06 and Bennati by 0:17. Stage 6 will resemble Stage 5. The rolling, 176.8-km ride will begin and end in Xativa and will feature three Category 3 climbs and a number of unrated hills. A sprinter could win, but so could an escapee. Which will it be? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out! Located in the US? Visit out videos section at www.roadcycling.com/video to watch our daily La Vuelta Video highlights.