Canadian Francois Parisien won the fifth stage of the Tour of Catalonia on Friday as Ireland’s Daniel Martin extended his overall lead. Parisien of the Argos-Shimano team took the stage honors on the line as 13 riders finished the 156 kilometre ride from Rialp to Lleida to a time of three hours thirty-two minutes and two seconds. However, Martin was the real winner of the day as he gained a bonus second by finishing third in a sprint and then gained three more seconds on second-placed Joaquim Rodriguez in the dash to the line to extend his advantage to 14 seconds with just two stages remaining.
After two gruelling days of climbing through the Pyrenees, Friday’s more manageable stage saw the riders finish nearly 500m lower in Lleida than they began in Rialp. Just after the 50km mark though Olivier Kaisen (Lotto) and Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) made a break and quickly built up nearly a four minute advantage, with the peloton catching them with about 15km to go. The big names then began to bunch together as last year’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins briefly led Team Sky to the front of the pack.
In an incredibly tight finish Parisien surged towards the line to take his first stage victory of the season. Martin came in along with the leading group with Rodriguez in the group of seven just three seconds behind.