Tuesday 05 April 2016 - 18:08

Brutal climb shakes up the GC in Pais Vasco

Brutal climb shakes up the GC in Pais Vasco

The finish of stage 2 led to some important gaps in the overall standings of the Spanish race.

Tuesday it was all about the Alto de Garrastatxu, a second-category ascent which had to wait 56 editions in order to get the chance of hosting a Vuelta al Pais Vasco. With the peloton aware of the importance the climb can have in the outcome of the race, but not knowing too much details of it – except of its length (2.7 kilometers) and average gradient (11.6%) – it didn't give too much space to the escapees, who were reeled in just as the race was entering in its final 10 kilometers.

On that brutal "wall", Mikel Landa (Team Sky) was the first to move with roughly 1500 meters left and was joined only by Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo), as the two went clear of the pack led by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff). Despite a late surge coming from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), the leading duo stayed at the front and Landa crossed the line first, seizing the leader's jersey. Racing Pais Vasco on his way to the Ardennes Classics, Daniel Martin came 43 seconds adrift, and continues to be Etixx – Quick-Step's best placed rider in the general classification, in 24th place.

On Wednesday, stage 3 – the longest one of this year's edition – will take the peloton from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Lesaka. Five categorized climbs are on the parcours – Alto de Uitizi, Alto de Usategieta, Alto de Aritxulegi, Alto de Agina and Alto de la Piedad (2.1 km, 8.8% average gradient) – the top of the last one coming with 9 kilometers before the finish. With just a non-technical descent and a short flat section remaining until the arrival in Lesaka, a canny attack can go all the way.


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele

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