The fifth stage of the Valencia race ended today. In the final stage, which was completely flat and slightly shorter than the rest (Paterna – Valencia; 98km), UAE Team Emirates defended Tadej’s lead and the yellow jersey. Immediately after the start a breakaway group of four riders was formed, but they were unable to gain any major advantages. The advantage did not increase to more than a minute and the breakaway were caught 10 km before the finish. Tadej skillfully rode in the foreground until the last kilometer, when only sprinters and their leadout man remained in the forefront. The stage was won by Fabio Jakobsen (Quick Step).
Tadej so became the overall winner of the Valencia race and brought the yellow jersey to the finish line, with the help of the team. In addition to the yellow, he also won a white jersey for best young rider and celebrated two stage victories in five stages. He achieved his first milestone in the second stage, as he defeated one of the best riders in the world for such finishes, Alejandro Valverde, in the closing short and explosive climb
In the fifth, most difficult mountain stage, however, he showed his good preparedness on the last, very steep climb, where the slope rarely dropped below 14%. Here he left his rivals 3 km ahead of the finish and, in a solo ride, crossed the finish line at the top, winning the second stage and thus consolidating himself in the joint lead.
At the end of the race, Tadej summarized his thoughts:
“This victory means a lot to me, especially since it comes after a long winter break and after a hard training program. This is my first race of the season, which was planned as my return to the competitive rhythm.., and the win is even more amazing. But of course I also have to thank the team and all the guys who have been assisting me for five days. We really got along well and it was a pleasure to race with them. I can now move forward relaxed, motivated and focused on my next UAE Tour challenge at the end of February. “