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Vuelta a Espana: Meersman claims Stage 5 as Atapuma retains lead

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Vuelta a Espana: Meersman claims Stage 5 as Atapuma retains lead

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Belgium’s Gianni Meersman produced a superb display to clinch the fifth stage of the Vuelta a Espana in Lugo on Wednesday.

The Etixx-Quick Step rider avoided a massive pile-up before attacking in the last kilometre, en route to his second stage victory here.

Portugal’s Tiago Machado led for the majority of the stage and was first at the top of the only ascent of the day, before being reeled in 14 km from the line by the peloton, led by Team Sky and Movistar.

Australian Simon Clarke and Philippe Gilbert of Belgium then attacked with 2 kilometres to go but it wasn’t to be as Meersman proved unstoppable in the final stretch.

The 30-year-old outclassed Italy’s Fabio Felline and France’s Kevin Reza while BMC rider Darwin Atapuma retained his leader’s red jersey.

He now leads Spaniard Alejandro Valverde by 28 seconds in the overall standings, while Britain’s Chris Froome is four seconds further back.

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