Jan Tratnik in the break, Jonas Koch in top 10 in the sprint, Amaro Antunes 10th overall – CCC Sprandi Polkowice capped off Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in style.
Info: Stage 5, February 4th, Paterna – Valencia, 135,2km
Course: flat (one cat. 2 climb)
Jan Tratnik was responsible for the first “orange breakaway” of 2018 season. He went away soon after the gun and was joined in his efforts by some big names, such as Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Rein Taaramae (Direct Énergie) or Stefan Kung (BMC). There were in total 6 attackers fighting with rain and bad weather in the front.
The peloton was aware of the strength of that group, so they never gave the leaders too much of a gap. It was hovering at around 1 minute, as sprinters teams – LottoNL-Jumbo and EF Education First-Drapac – were setting very strong pace in the bunch.
Jan Tratnik was again very active in the front, attacking from the break on cat. 2 climb (which he won), but eventually got caught with 25km to go, when Kung was still leading solo, with 22s gap.
German was brought back in with 8km remaining and at that point it was obvious that the bunch sprint is coming. Finale was quite tricky, with few turns, on slippery roads. In that chaotic finish Jonas Koch was able to sprint into top 10, taking 9th place. Amaro Antunes retained his 10th place overall, as he arrived safely in the bunch.
Jorgen Roelandts (BMC Racing) claimed the win, besting Danny van Poppel (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Clement Venturini (AG2R La Mondiale). Alejandro Valverde secured a victory in general standings, ahead of Astana duo, Luis Leon Sanchez and Jakob Fuglsang.
We went clear after 10km of racing and we worked very well together. The peloton was chasing us fast though. I decided to give everything I had on the cat. 2 climb and test my legs. I can by happy with my performance, since in comparison to previous year I’m much better prepared. I can’t wait for next races – Jan Tratnik said after the stage.