Stage 5 of the 67th edition of the Vuelta a España is a stage where the GC
contenders may get a slight rest after the last 2 days of racing and the sprinters after suffering the last 2 days, will look to turn the attention back to them and the (unlikely) sprinters battle for the Green jersey. Expect teams who don't have a sprinter or GC man to work for, to try and form a break and take it all the way to the end. If this was a stage in Le Tour you'd give it a 95% chance of ending in a bunch sprint but the Vuelta is a different kettle of fish.The parcours
The riders start in Logroño is a city in northern Spain, on the banks of the Ebro River. Then it's just a case of riding around a loop of the city, on the loop there is the small matter of 115 meter rise to take the riders 500 meters above sea level, no sooner have they reached that height they drop back down to 385 meters above sea level. After the climbs of the last 2 days, this will be a nice day in the saddle for those non-climbing specialists, even Gilbert should be able to follow the wheels of the guys ahead of him.
Like yesterday's stage, this one also contains 2 intermediate sprints, the 1st comes after 62.6 km and the 2nd comes after 104.6 km, so if a break manages to get away, it would be safe to assume that all points and more importantly bonus seconds will have be taken by the time the GC contenders reach the sprint point. Today will be a rest day for those souls who have a desire to win the King of the Mountains jersey as there are no classified climbs on today's route.
As mentioned above this is more than likely a day for the sprinters, unless an escape group can throw a spanner in the works. The final 5 kilometres are flat so they should not provide any problems for the sprinters or their teams. The only problem the bunch might face is a few sharp turns as the finishing line approaches, these turns could cause some crashes if the trains are not running smoothly or some 'Kamikaze' style riding is going down in the bunch, the turns may offer a ray of hope for any escapee or escapees who have survived thus far, as the sprint trains may be forced to lower the pace to safely navigate the turns.
What we can see from the parcours is this, stage 5 is an extremely important stage if you have designs on winning and not losing the 2012 Vuelta!