Simon Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac) took victory in Roquetas de Mar on stage 5 of the Vuelta as the breakaway won for the second day running. Clarke out-sprinted Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing), who had attacked from a sizeable breakaway with 60 kilometres remaining.
“It’s just amazing. I worked so hard since I last won a stage here, and I just couldn’t repeat it. It’s taken me so long to get back there and have my stars aligned. Even today I wasn’t sure it was possible,” said Clarke. “I knew I had good legs, but when you have a breakaway with so many riders, the cooperation is never very good. As we saw, the winning move went on the descent. It was a tricky one to pick. I knew I had good legs and I just had to pray that the moves I was doing were the right ones.
“I grew up on the track since I was 15, it was just like track racing. I know that De Marchi is fast, but it’s such a long stage. It’s so hard to sprint after that. Even I was cramping when Mollema attacked and I just rode through it. I backed myself. I was so worried they would catch us from behind, but in that situation you just have to be as cold as ice. You’ve got to be willing to lose to win, and I was and I came out on top.”
Great job Simon!