La Vuelta a España Stage 5: Maes Top Finisher on Hot & Hectic Stage
In a stage where the peloton split into pieces due to wind changes, on yet another hot day at La Vuelta a España, OPQS rider Nikolas Maes finished in 21st place. The race came down to a small group of riders on the slightly uphill few hundred meters, as they crossed the line about 5 seconds ahead of a group including Maes, Rigoberto Uran, Wout Poels, Tom Boonen, Pieter Serry, and Gianluca Brambilla.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won the stage. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.Fr) was 2nd, and Moreno Hofland (Belkin) was 3rd.
Tony Martin went into a two-rider breakaway earlier in the race, but was eventually caught. His breakmate, Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol), went solo and was brought back by the front group when the peloton split in the wind, with about 32km to go in the 180km stage from Priego de Córdoba to Ronda.
"This morning I tried to go into the breakaway," Martin said. "With the team we hoped for a bigger group in the breakaway, but there was also a crash in the first kilometers of the race, so nobody joined us. With the wind and the heat, it was really hard to arrive at the finish line."
Tom Boonen suffered bad luck in a key moment, having to chase back after a puncture with 9km to go in the stage. He rejoined the peloton, but used key energy to regain contact.
OPQS looks next to 167.1km Stage 6, which is a medium mountain stage. There are three categorized climbs and a summit finish on Category 1 Alto Cumbres Verdes.
Rigoberto Uran remains in 4th in the GC for OPQS.