The riders did not have time to waste on Friday towards Viladecans, in stage 5 of the Volta a Catalunya. The fight for the breakaway raged for two hours, before Enzo Paleni eventually managed to get in the front. The peloton, however, left no chance to the day’s fugitives, who were caught in the last climb before Axel Laurance won the sprint after 167 kilometres of racing. Lenny Martinez remains fourth overall and retains the white jersey before the queen stage on Saturday.

At the start of Altafulla on Friday, most of the peloton had the same intention in what was a hilly stage 5. “A lot of teams and riders wanted to be in the breakaway, so it was very fast at the beginning, with constant attacks, counter-attacks, and there were always teams to pull,” explained Thierry Bricaud. Since many – too many? – riders wanting to take the lead, the fight lasted for half of the race! “The battle was on for two hours and ninety kilometers before the break went away,” even said Enzo Paleni, who actually managed to slip into a group of five men with Oscar Rodriguez, Jacopo Mosca, Georg Steinhauser and Christopher Juul-Jensen. “Enzo had the opportunity to follow the big moves, and when everyone needed to catch his breath, he was still up there,” added Thierry Bricaud. “It’s a sign of good form, and that’s very good.” “It’s a stage that I had my eyes on since the breakaway had a chance of making it to the end,” commented the young Frenchman. “Unfortunately, the peloton never gave us much time, so it was difficult to compete, but I’m happy with the legs. It’s good for morale. I’m usually working for the team, so it’s a little personal satisfaction and it’s nice to do strong efforts like this.”

“Tomorrow’s stage is probably the hardest”, Thierry Bricaud

The five attackers never had the opportunity to get a three-minute lead, and the bunch also really increased the pace in the last classified climb of the day, the Alt de la Creu d’Aragall, with about thirty kilometres to go. “Some sprinters also wanted a bunch finish, so they made sure not to let too big of a gap,” explained Thierry. “In the end, it was indeed a sprint after another fast day.” Axel Laurance finally took the win from a peloton of about a hundred riders which included Lenny Martinez, still in the white jersey and fourth in the general classification. “Lenny had a rather quiet day,” said Thierry. “His teammates helped him well throughout the first part of the race, then he handled it on his own in the final. This is a good sign for the weekend. We’ve already had a lot of difficult days, but tomorrow’s stage is probably the hardest. We don’t go that high in terms of altitude, but there is a lot of elevation gain and we just go up and down all day. There will be a real fight and the general will certainly change.” “There are two big days left, but Lenny is in good shape, and we’ll all be behind him,” said Enzo.

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