France’s Samuel Dumoulin of the Cofidis team won Friday’s fifth stage of the Tour of Catalonia in a sprint finish, while embattled Spanish rider Alberto Contador retained the leader’s jersey.
Dumoulin covered the 205.8-kilometer ride from Vendrell to Tarragona, the longest stage of this year’s event, in four hours and 49 minutes.
He edged Spain’s Jose Rojas of Movistar and Ruben Perez of Euskatel in a mass sprint to the line in which 161 of the 172 riders finished with the same time as the winner.
Contador crossed in 76th position but nevertheless retained the overall lead that he first claimed during Wednesday’s grueling third stage in the Pyrenees Mountains.
He holds a 23-second lead over American Levi Leipheimer of Radioshack and Italy’s Michele Scarponi of the Lampre team, and is firm favourite to win the event on Sunday.
The UCI announced on Thursday it would appeal the Spanish federation’s decision to acquit Contador of doping allegations.
The Spaniard had tested positive for a tiny amount of the banned muscle-building substance clenbuterol during last July’s Tour, which he went on to win.
But he was cleared to compete when the Spanish cycling federation last month rescinded an initial decision to hand down a one-year ban, accepting the rider’s claim that he had unknowingly eaten drug-contaminated meat and was therefore not negligent.
Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Tour of Catalonia takes the riders 184 kilometers from Tarragona to Mollet del Valles.
Stage 5: El Vendrell – Tarragona (213.5 km)
- 1. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, 4:49:31
- 2. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (ESP), Movistar, s.t.
- 3. Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
- 4. Aitor Galdos Alonso (ESP), Caja Rural, s.t.
- 5. Michal Golas (POL), Vacansoleil-DCM, s.t.
- 1. Alberto Contador Velasco (ESP), Saxo Bank Sungard, 22:28:28
- 2. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Radioshack, at 23
- 3. Michele Scarponi (ITA), Lampre-ISD, at 23
- 4. Daniel Martin (IRL), Garmin-Cervelo, at 35
- 5. Christopher Horner (USA), Radioshack, at 35