Mezgec gets third stage win

Luka Mezgec (AFP)
Luka Mezgec (AFP)

Valls - Slovenian cyclist Luka Mezgec has earned his third stage win of this Volta a Catalunya, edging the pack in the final sprint on Friday.

Joaquim Rodriguez maintained the overall lead, with the 218km ride from Llanars Vall de Camprodon to Valls producing no changes at the top of the general classification.

Mezgec, riding for Giant-Shimano, finished the stage in 5 hours, 16 minutes at the front of a large pack. He also won the two opening stages of the seven-day race with sprint finishes.

Rodriguez kept his four-second lead over Alberto Contador.

Tejay van Garderen remained seven seconds behind. Nairo Quintana trailed by 10 seconds and Tour de France winner Christopher Froome was 17 seconds off the pacesetter.

"I hope I can reach the final day with the same advantage," said Rodriguez, who won the Volta in 2010. "We will have to be very attentive and stay focused."

Contador downplayed his chances of overtaking Rodriguez.

"The remaining course leaves very little margin," Contador said.

"For me, the important thing is to recover physically from these tiring days."

Saturday's sixth stage will take riders over 172 km from El Vendrell to Vilanova i la Geltru.

The race finishes in Barcelona on Sunday.

Result of the fifth stage of the Tour of Catalonia, a 218.2km ride from Camprodon to Valls, on Friday:

1. Luka Mezgec (SLO/GIA) 5hr 15min 59sec
2. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/OPQ) same time
3. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/ALM)
4. Paul Martens (GER/BKN)
5. Michel Kreder (NED/AJW)
6. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN)
7. Adam Yates (ENG/ORI)
8. Kevin Reza (FRA/EUC)
9. Tosh Van der Sande (BEL/LTB).
10. Davide Vigano (ITA/CJR) all same time

Overall standings:
1. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 23hr 03min 34sec
2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) at 0:04sec
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 0:07.
4. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:10
5. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 0:10
6. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:17
7. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 0:18
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 0:26
9. Warren Barguil (FRA/GIA) 0:42
10. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/RSH) 0:48

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