Pais Vasco queen-stage takes its toll on the peloton
No less than 32 riders abandoned on the penultimate day of the World Tour event.
Alto de Itziar, Alto de Calvario, Alto de Karabieta, Alto de Kanpazar, Alto de Asentsio, Alto de Ixua, Alto de San Miguel and Alto de Usartza were the eight categorized climbs which awaited the riders on Friday (Orio – Arrate, 159 kilometers), when not only the course, but also the difficult weather conditions (rain and cold) played an important role in the outcome. As a result, many riders called it a day during the stage, include three men of Etixx – Quick-Step: Rodrigo Contreras, Daniel Martin and Julien Vermote.
At the end of the day, Diego Rosa (Astana) took the win from a solo breakaway, while Sergio Henao (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) rounded out the podium. As race leader Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) couldn't stay in touch with the two who attacked from the peloton on the final ascent, Henao took the yellow jersey. From the Etixx – Quick-Step camp, the top finisher was Gianluca Brambilla, who finished 23rd, while Carlos Verona went into the breakaway for the second day in a row and stayed there until the last climb. In the general classification, neo-pro Laurens De Plus is the best placed rider of the team, in 27th.
The 56th Vuelta al Pais Vasco will conclude on Saturday with a 16.5-km long individual time trial around Eibar, on a hilly course.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele