Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 4: Velits Stage Hunts, Attempts Possible GC Upset
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Peter Velits surprised the peloton by making an escape group, and building up enough of a gap with his break mates to threaten a GC takeover in the 152km Stage 4 of Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco on Thursday.
Velits and four other riders went ahead at 53km into the race, and it with as little as 36km to go the breakaway was down to Velits and Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale) with a 4'07" gap. Velits only trailed in the GC by 1'49" going into the stage. OPQS teammates sat on the front of the peloton to control the chase, led by Tony Martin.
However, the peloton began to pick up the chase with 25km to go and the gap started dropping dramatically. Finally, as Velits and his break mate reached the bottom of the final climb (Cat. 1 Usartza), the gap was down to less than a minute and a half.
As the two were reeled in, different riders began to attack and a select group formed. Eventually, Velits and Montaguti were caught by Simon Spilak (Katusha Team), and eventually Spilak himself was caught by a group with all the top GC contenders. As the group reached the fast and short descent to the final after the Usartza summit, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) attacked to win the race. Sergio Henao (Sky ProCycling) was 2nd, and Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) 3rd. Velits, after a long day up the road, still finished 24th.