Vuelta a Espana 2021 : Stage 5 – Sprint win for Philipsen; bittersweet red for Elissonde

Stage 5 of this year’s Vuelta a Espana had the flattest profile of all the stages – a bunch sprint was a sure thing. Cycling fans, teams, and commentators alike, feeling starved of drama and excitement and desperate for a dose of action, had spent time pre-stage hyping up the potential for crosswinds and echelons, which, sadly, came to nothing. The stage, which proved to be an extremely dull affair, marred by a horrendous crash at 11.6km, but which also saw a second impressive stage victory for Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), felt extremely bittersweet. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche Wanty Gobert), caught up in the crash and unable to get sufficiently close to the front group, ended the day losing the red jersey to Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), while DSM’s Romain Bardet‘s grand tour bad luck continued, coming down hard in the crash and finishing the stage battered, bruised and with the biggest loss from all the GC contenders.

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