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Meersman Takes Second Vuelta Stage Win

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Aug 24, 2016 – Belgian Gianni Meersman won stage five of the Vuelta on Wednesday, his second victory after triumphing on stage two, both wins coming on flat terrain. Meersman won the sprint finish in the 171.3km stage from Viveiro to Lugo in a time of 4hr 16min 42sec, while Colombian Darwin Atapuma retained the overall lead.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

Etixx-Quick Step rider Meersman finished ahead of Luxembourg’s Fabio Felline of Trek-Segafredo in second and France’s Kevin Reza of FDJ in third after being set up well by his team and sprinting fastest on the uphill run to the line.

Because of a crash in the last kilometer, overall leader Atapuma lost more than a minute and the stage results had Spain’s Alejandro Valverde first, but the three kilometer rule was applied and the Colombian kept his red jersey, leading by 29 seconds.

“I was scared a little because the fall was in front of me, but luckily it didn’t involve me and I was able to continue without problems,” said Atapuma. “For my sporting career and the team, this is a great happiness. I came to the tour with good feelings and we will keep fighting, with the help of my team.”

Meersman said on Eurosport: “I was very happy with the first win, it gave me a lot of confidence and I started today with no stress. The lead-out from (Zdenek) Stybar was incredible and when I saw the 200 meters to go sign I just went because I knew if I stopped the others would come from behind. In the end nobody passed me and I’m very happy.”

BMC’s Philippe Gilbert and Cannondale-Drapac’s Simon Clarke made a late attack with the peloton chasing but due to tricky narrow roads there were various incidents. Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo went down and had to receive medical attention, while another crash nearly involved Chris Froome, who managed to dodge it late on, eventually finishing in 14th place.

Kruijswijk’s race appears to be over with team director Steven de Jongh saying: “We know he’s hurt his teeth because he was complaining a lot about that, as well as his collarbone. He thought his collarbone was broken but we couldn’t see if it was. He finished and we will take an x-ray and see how he is.” On Thursday the sixth stage from Monforte de Lemos to Luintra takes place on hilly terrain running for 163.2km.

Results Stage 5
1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step 4:16:42
2. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ
4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
5. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
7. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
8. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
9. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
10. José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

General Classification
1. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 17:39:52
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:28
3. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:32
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:38
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:07
7. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:10
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:01:12
9. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:14
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:01:22