2023 Volta a Catalunya Stage 5 Preview

Tortosa / Lo Port 176.6km

Another big GC day and the return of Lo Port, which was used as a finish back in 2017. Valverde was the winner that day, in front of Contador and Froome, in what was one of his best climbing performances, in my eyes at least. It’s a proper mountain, one that wouldn’t look out of place in a grand tour. The best rider in the race should really be winning this one.


Quite windy at the start of the day, and there is a chance of crosswinds, but that is pretty rare in this part of the world. The bad news is the climb is mostly headwind, but not as bad as in Tirreno, and a lot of it is covered by trees. It’s also going to be quite a mild day, even at the top of the mountain.

Lo Port

It’s a tough climb, 8.4km at 8.6%, and without many areas where riders can rest, there’s also a number of hairpins near the top.


It should be a relatively easy day, then full gas for about 25 minutes, totally different to Wednesday. Evenepoel has looked the strongest in the race, but Roglič still sits in the race lead. Jumbo-Visma won’t be interested in chasing the break, that responsibility will lie at the feet of Soudal – Quick Step. Now, they did a tremendous job on Wednesday, it was full gas all day, I would expect something similar in this stage. 

The opening kilometres does contain a cat 3 climb, but I don’t think we’re likely to see a big break full of talented climbers, it’s all about break management in the first thirty minutes. Once on Lo Port, Soudal – Quick Step will get the mountain train ready to roll, it’s great training for the Giro. 

They’ll work through all their riders, trying to keep the pace as high as possible before Remco launches his move. The key for the team will be to last deep into the climb, they need to deter anyone thinking of attacking from the GC group, I’m looking at you, Adam Yates. When Remco goes, we’ll see if Roglič can follow, it looked a struggle for him to close the gap on La Molina. If Roglič does get on the wheel, we know he’s not going to do any work, it’s all up to Remco. The good news for the wee man is the gradient is nice and steep, it should be easier for him to drop Roglič and co, but still not easy, if you get what I’m saying.


Remco Evenepoel – well then, this is a proper test ahead of the Giro. Remco has looked in brilliant form this week, but he’d love a swashbuckling performance to try and rub salt in the wounds of his rivals. The presence of Van Wilder will be crucial, the team will hope he can last a long way up the mountain, which will prevent attacks from those further down on GC. We’ve seen in previous stages that following a Remco attack is difficult, on this climb it could well be impossible.

Primož Roglič – his game plan is simple, follow the wheel of Remco, executing it is a different matter altogether. He did Tirreno, then came here and is about to start his third mountain stage, fatigue could well be about to kick in. He was able to follow on Vallter 2000, but Remco dropped him close to the finish on La Molina, but this climb is much harder. Fatigue is a real concern for me.

Giulio Ciccone – brilliant on Vallter 2000 but couldn’t follow the best on La Molina. Let’s be honest, that wasn’t a surprise, Remco and Primož are on a different level to their rivals in this race. Finishing 3rd in a race of this calibre would be an exceptional result for the Italian, I think it would be his best career result, that should be his focus. There’s no need to go and prove himself by trying to follow the big two, he should ride for the podium.

Adam Yates – was one of the few contenders who was here in 2017, he finished 5th and current teammate Marc Soler was 4th. UAE will have to decide if Yates has freedom to chase the stage win, they might want him to help Almeida challenge for the overall podium. This type of stage suits Yates, it’s like something you’d find in the UAE Tour, but winning against Evenepoel and Roglič won’t be easy, even though he’s not a threat to the race lead. 

Richard Carapaz – breakaway hopeful number 1.

Joe Dombrowski – breakaway hopeful number 2.

Ben Tulett – breakaway hopeful number 3.

Patrick Konrad – breakaway hopeful number 4.

Prediction Time

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Soudal – Quick Step to make another big statement and Remco Evenepoel to take a dominant win.