Vernon wins Tour of Catalonia stage as Almeida takes 1 second lead overall


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Paris (AFP)- World Tour rookie Ethan Vernon took advantage of a late crash to race over the line and win stage five of the Tour of Catalonia on Friday as Portugal’s Joao Almeida took the overall lead by just a second.

It was the first senior road win for the 21-year-old who won a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir for the under-23s last year and signed a contract with Belgian team Quick Step.

Vernon edged Bahrain Victorious Phil Bauhaus to the line after a 5h 21min 17sec race at a pedestrian pace over 206km of hilly terrain.

UAE Portuguese driver Almeida took the overall lead over Arkea’s Colombian Nairo Quintana by just one second.

“I felt a little tired today but I managed to get a bonus second on the intermediate sprint. It’s only a second, on the last day we could have big gaps,” Almeida admitted. .

“I know the circuit on the last day, it’s tough and a second won’t make the difference.”

With two tough stages remaining, the top six places are only 18 seconds apart.

Saturday’s race from the seaside town of Salou to the hinterland mountains of the Costa Brava invites an escape.

Sunday’s final stage ends with six laps of downtown Barcelona with six steep climbs of Montjuic where the 1992 Olympic Stadium is located.


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