Dan Martin extends Volta a Catalunya lead as Bradley Wiggins loses time
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 23/03/13 4:34pm
Francois Parisien sprinted to victory
Dan Martin extended his lead of the Volta a Catalunya but Bradley Wiggins lost time after a hectic finale forced late splits in the peloton on stage five.
A series of roundabouts on the run-in to Lleida combined with a searing pace saw the bunch break up just under 1km from the line.
Irishman Martin defied convention for a race leader by deciding to contest the sprint as he searched for bonus seconds - and reaped the benefits with a ninth-placed finish.
However, Wiggins had earlier chosen to sit up in order to stay out of trouble and fell victim of the splits, finishing in a large group nine seconds down.
All of the other general classification contenders were also caught out, with second-placed Joaquim Rodriguez crossing the line three seconds behind Martin and Nairo Quintana finishing with Wiggins nine seconds back.
Martin also stole one bonus second by taking third in the day's final intermediate sprint, meaning he now leads Rodriguez overall by 14 seconds, with Quintana trailing by 42 seconds and Wiggins by 44.
The stage win went to 30-year-old Canadian Francois Parisien (Argos-Shimano), who claimed the finest victory of his career by surging past Stephane Poulhies (Cofidis) in the last 75m and holding off a late charge from Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
The day offered the peloton a chance to recover from Thursday's exertions in the mountains with 156.5km of almost entirely downhill road from Rialp to Lleida.
Only the second-category climb of Port d'Ager after 69km stood in the way and Olivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol) and Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) duly used the lower slopes to break clear of the main bunch and open up a gap of three minutes.
Their effort was always an exercise in publicity for sponsors, though, and they were quickly reeled in as the sprinters' teams upped the speed inside the last 40km.
Vacansoleil-DCM initially led the pack into Lleida, but as roundabouts began to pockmark the final few kilometres, other teams started to make their move to the front.
The fight for position caused splits, freeing those up the road to contest a reduced-bunch sprint.
Poulhies was the first to launch his bid for the line, but Parisien used his slipstream to devastating effect and won by a bike length.
Stage five result
1 Francois Parisien (Can) Argos-Shimano, 3:32.02
2 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, same time
3 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, st
4 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale, st
5 Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC, st
6 Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
7 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
8 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM, st
9 Dan Martin (Ire) Garmin-Sharp, st
10 Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano, st
17 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +3secs
42 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +9
107 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, st
1 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp, 22:20.39
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +14
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +42
4 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +46 secs
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +47
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco, +59
7 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida, +1.10
8 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +1.17
9 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, +1.23
10 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol, +1.15