Jarlinson holds off the chasing peloton in a nail-biter ending to stage five at the Volta a Catalunya
Jarlinson Pantano claimed his first win with Trek-Segafredo and his first victory since his breakthrough win at the 2016 Tour de France.
Jarlinson Pantano and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) were the last two standing from the day’s breakaway that had also included teammate Laurent Didier and numbered 15 riders in the early part of the 213-kilometer stage.
“We knew that today would be the day for the breakaway to go until the end and we took the opportunity,” explained Pantano about the move. ” I know Laengren, we were teammates at IAM Cycling, so we had a good understanding and worked together quite well in the end.”
With a two-minute gap and 15 kilometers to go, mathematically the pair looked good. But when Movistar and Team Sky decided to pick up the chase on the gradual climb ahead of a long descent to the finish, the time fell rapidly. Pantano and Laengen’s lead was down to 1 minute and 25 seconds entering a tunnel with 12 kilometers remaining.
The climb crested in the six-kilometer-long tunnel where speeds reportedly were over 90km/h. When Alejandro Valverde attacked from the peloton entering the tunnel, it was anyone’s guess who would emerge first.
However, Pantano and Laengen exited still in the lead, but the time gap had taken a big hit. With four kilometers to go to the line, they held a precarious 16 seconds.
The pair managed to maintain their advantage through the next kilometers, and the daring and savvy Pantano dove through the final turns. He opened up a 10-meter gap to Laengen that he held over the line for a huge win, his first with Trek-Segafredo.
I am very happy with this big result! It has been a quite difficult day where Laurent and I went together in the breakaway. We knew that today was an opportunity for us. The team has put so much trust in me, so I am very happy I could finally give them something in return. So, for now, I hope I can continue in the same way. I want to thank my wife, my son and the whole team for their support. I really feel at home in this team, Trek-Segafredo feels like a real family, so I could not be happier to finally give them a victory!
There’s been plenty of illness making the rounds in the pro peloton, and Trek-Segfredo has had its fair share of riders feeling its effects. Finally, the team could shake the bug, taking home two wins in the same day after Bauke Mollema also won stage two at Coppi e Bartali.
While the team celebrations rang loud from Italy to Spain, Markel Irizar and his family had received news of a family tragedy.
Pantano dedicated his win to his teammate, who had ridden through the stage with a heavy heart:
I would like to honor this victory to my teammate and friend, Markel Irizar. He and his wife and family had to go to a hard day today. I have been thinking the whole day about him, and I really wanted to offer him the victory and also to the team, because I felt in debt towards them.