Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome stays third after avoiding stage five crash
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 24/08/16 8:13pm
Chris Froome avoided a late pile-up on stage five to remain third overall at the Vuelta a Espana as Gianni Meersman sprinted to his second win of this year’s race.
Froome (Team Sky) had to take evasive action after a handful of riders crashed inside the final 800m and blocked the road.
Although Froome, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) were able to sneak past, race leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) were among those caught behind the accident.
However, because it happened inside the final 3km, everyone was given the same time and the general classification consequently remained unchanged.
Atapuma is 28 seconds in front of second-placed Valverde, while Froome is 32 second back in third.
Meersman (Etixx - Quick-Step) was the first to launch his sprint in Lugo and hung on to beat Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) into second and Kevin Reza (FDJ.fr) into third.
Meersman, who also won stage two, said: "I was extremely happy with the first victory; it gave me a lot of confidence.
"I started the day with zero stress. I saw the sign of 200m and I knew if I didn't start, the other guys would come from behind. Nobody passed me and I'm really happy."
The Vuelta continues on Thursday with a 163.2km sixth stage from Monforte de Lemos to Luintra. Find out more about the route in our race guide.
Stage five result
1 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step, 4:16:42
2 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, same time
3 Kevin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr, st
4 Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana, st
5 Zico Waeytens (Bel) Giant-Alpecin, st
6 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, st
7 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, st
8 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing, st
9 Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, st
10 Jose Goncalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, st
13 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st
14 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
1 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing, 17:39:52
2 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +28sec
3 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +32
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange, +38
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +same time
6 Samuel Sanchez (Esp) BMC Racing, +1:07
7 Ruben Fernandez (Esp) Movistar, +1:10
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, +1:12
9 Peter Kennaugh (GB) Team Sky, +1:14
10 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step, +1:22