Vuelta a Espana: Michael Matthews sprints to stage five win as Vincenzo Nibali retains lead
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 30/08/13 4:44pm
Michael Matthews sprinted to victory at Lago de Sanabria
Australia's Michael Matthews sprinted to victory on stage five of the Vuelta a Espana as Vincenzo Nibali retained the race leader's red jersey.
Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) jumped on the lead-out train of rival team Argos-Shimano inside the final 1km and then launched a decisive burst for the line with 200m to go.
The 22-year-old came under pressure as a clutch riders fought back at him, but he held on to beat Ariel Richeze (Lampre-Merida) into second and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) into third.
Nibali (Astana) crossed the line in the main bunch to retain his three-second lead in the general classification over Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard).
Matthews said afterwards: "After a few moments, it sunk in what I had really done. A few tears came out after that. This is the biggest win of my career. The team was super impressive today. They did their job perfectly so I could do mine."
Argos fall short
The day took the peloton on a 174.3km route from Sober to Lago de Sanabria in north-western Spain and although it took in two category-three climbs, a flat run to the finish laid the platform for a bunch sprint.
Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida), Jurgen van de Walle (Lotto-Belisol), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ) and Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural) formed a five-man breakaway and built up a lead of over 10 minutes, but with the second of the climbs coming arriving too far out to deter the sprinters, their plight was always doomed.
Courteille nevertheless attacked on a small, uncategorised rise in the road 10km out and although Van de Walle later joined him, the duo were unable to stay away and were eventually swallowed up with 3.4km remaining.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step and Orica-GreenEDGE had done the bulk of work in bringing the break back, but Argos-Shimano soon took charge and led the peloton into the final 1km and then around a tight right-hand turn with 600m remaining.
Matthews had by now abandoned his own team's train and moved into Argos-Shimano's slipstream, and he then surged clear to claim the biggest win of his career.
Stage five result
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, 4:28:22
2 Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida, same time
3 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
4 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Argos-Shimano, st
5 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, st
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky, st
7 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ, st
8 Greg Henderson (NZ) Lotto-Belisol, st
9 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale, st
10 Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM, st
21 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, st
29 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, st
35 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, st
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 18:43:52
2 Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard, +3secs
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, +8
4 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard, +16
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +21
6 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard, +26
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +28
8 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha, +31
9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff, +38
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, +42
- Green (points classification): Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
- Blue polka dot (mountains classification): Nicolas Roche (Ire) Saxo-Tinkoff