Martin led the team with 30th at 29 seconds back while Le Mevel, who crashed hard two days ago, was 41st at 43 seconds slower. Martin settled into 18th overall at 1:04 back with Le Mevel in 36th at 2:54 back.
Spanish rider Joaquím Rodríguez won the stage while Sylvain Chavanel kept the race leader’s jersey by nine seconds.
Garmin-Cervélo sport director Bingen Fernández said the team held up under tough racing conditions, with temperatures pushing up into the mid-90Fs.
“On paper, it should have been a good stage for Daniel, normally he would be there, but midway through the stage he said he wasn’t feeling so good and was worried that he could lose minutes,” Fernández explained. “So we are content with how he was able to limit his losses considering how bad things could have been.”
Fernández said more than a few riders complained they did not sleep well overnight Tuesday, when the Vuelta caravan slept at the Sierra Nevada summit of more than 2,100 meters.
“Daniel said he didn’t sleep well and Andreas Klier didn’t feel well either,” he said. “Christophe was able to get through the stage as well as he could. It’s been a tough 48 hours for him since he crashed. He’s banged up but if he can get through the next two days in good shape, he should be fine to battle back in the second half of the Vuelta.”
The 66th Vuelta continues Thursday with the 193.4km sixth stage from Úbeda to Córdoba. Warm temperatures and a slight headwind should keep things under control until a late-stage second-category climb in the closing 25km that should see attacks from riders looking to win a stage.
Garmin-Cervélo will be trying to get Tyler Farrar or Heinrich Haussler over the challenging climb to perhaps fight for the stage victory out of a reduced bunch coming into Córdoba.
“That final climb is pretty hard. It will be difficult for many sprinters to get over that,” he said. “Of course, there is the possibility of a breakaway staying away. We will try to get our riders over in good shape and then see what happens. What’s sure is that there are not many opportunities for the pure sprinters in the Vuelta this year.”
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