Not to be denied three consecutive times, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team learned from yesterday’s lead-out mistakes and delivered Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen perfectly to win the final stage of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
Despite stage 5 being completely flat, Remco Evenepoel and Matej Mohorič tried to form a breakaway with four more riders before the live coverage started. Of course, the attempt was not successful because no one wants to let go away a breakaway with such strong riders, especially not Bora-Hansgrohe who’s priority was to defend Aleksandr Vlasov’s lead in the general classification. Eventually the day’s break formed which included Vincenzo Nibali, only to be caught after the intermediate sprint with 13 kilometres to go.
If in stage 4 Quick-Step failed with their sprint lead-out setup, then today they did everything by the textbook. Evenepoel showed incredible stamina with an impressive pull from 3.5 kilometers to 1.1 kilometers to go, however this time he had Lampaert and the rest of the train on his wheel.
The most exciting thing was to see the fight for Fabio Jakobsen’s wheel, which was the best position for every non-Quick-Step sprinter. The winner of this battle was Elia Viviani, thanks to the great work by British champion Ben Swift. Alexander Kristoff was forced to take a step back and ride behind Viviani after Swift had moved him up.
With Mørkøv beginning his pull with only 500 metres remaining and Jakobsen on his wheel, the conclusion of this stage became a formality.
Jakobsen won his second stage of Valenciana 2022 and must be happy that the lead-out came together so well on the final stage. Interestingly, after Jakobsen launched, the riders behind him, Viviani, Kristoff and Dupont, finished in the same sequence as they started.
Viviani, who finished second, sprinted erratically. He took a lot of risks to stay in Jakobsen’s draft and in the end nearly chopped Kristoff’s front wheel by moving sharply to the left side of the road.
Nothing changed in the general classification, with Russian Aleksandr Vlasov taking his first and biggest overall win of his career yet. He secured the lead after a great performance on the queen stage, which included a steep gravel section at the end of the Maigmo Tibi climb.
Although Evenepoel finished second, he showed a great climbing performance on stage 1 and later did powerful turns late in the sprint stages to help his teammates. 21-year-old Carlos Rodriguez performed above all expectations and secured the last spot on the podium – by far the biggest result in the promising Spanish climber’s career and the top spot of any Spanish rider in this race.
As always, make sure to check out Lanterne’s and Benji recap of all the races on this Sunday.