Philipsen wins Vuelta stage five as Elissonde takes overall lead
Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen won stage five of the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday, edging a mass dash for the line after a flat 184.4km run from Tarancon to Albacete
Frenchman Kenny Elissonde is the new overall leader after red jersey wearer Rein Taaramae was caught in a mass fall, with race favourite Primoz Roglic in second place just five seconds adrift.
After two days in the lead, Taaramae, who almost avoided the crash, was downhearted to lose the jersey through bad luck.
"Riders behind ran into me. I changed bikes and started to chase the peloton. It was impossible to close the one-minute gap. It is a pity to lose the jersey in this way," said the Estonian.
Elissonde was close to taking the overall lead on stage three, and admittted he felt for Taaramae.
"It's still incredible to wear the jersey. After the Tour de France and Olympics I took it easy. My team said 'Kenny, go to the Vuelta and see day by day', and look. It's incredible. It's super cool," the Frencman said.
Expected cross-winds never really emerged and instead the stage was once more contested in baking heat.
It was a second stage win on this Vuelta for Philipsen of Alpecin-Fenix, who also snatched back the sprint points green jersey from Deceuninck-Quick Step's Fabio Jakobsen, who won Tuesday' stage and has also twice been a close second.
Unlike Jakobsen, Philipsen contested the intermediate sprint garnering a crucial 13pts.
Philipsen was unlucky at the Tour de France in July finishing on the podium six times without bagging a win.
In Spain, he leads Jakobsen by a single point on 131pts in a rivalry that looks set to go some distance.
"It's not particularly that I'm already thinking about the end of the Vuelta and the green jersey, but it's nice to wear it day by day and then we'll just see how far we can get," said Philipsen.
Philipsen was again swift to credit his team after they regrouped after a late crash to lead him to the line.
"It makes it even more beautiful if you see the final five kilometres and how we were there together all with the team. I cannot describe that," said the 26-year-old.
Stage 6 on Thursday is another flat 159km run from Requena to Alto de la Montaña de Cullera, another stage for the breakaway and sprinters.
Stage 7 on Friday is the next test for the GC favorites with a mountain top finish atop Balcón de Alicante after 152 km.
VIDEO: 2021 La Vuelta GC Stage 5 Highlights
2021 La Vuelta GC Stage 5 Top 10
1 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 4:24:41
2 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team DSM
4 Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5 Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
6 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7 Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Qhubeka NextHash
10 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
2021 La Vuelta GC after Stage 5
1 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 17:33:57
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:05
3 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:10
4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
5 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:26
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:32
7 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
9 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:44
10 Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:45