Diego Rosa wins the queen stage in Tour of the Basque Country

A large 24-man break went clear early in the race in the queen stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Carlos Verona (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal) set about chasing down David Lopez (Sky) as four groups formed on the road.

After cresting the penultimate climb only Monfort and Armee remained in the second group chasing Diego Rosa (Astana), while the reduced peloton caught what remained of Lopez’s group.

Mikel Landa attacked in the last 20km, forcing Contador and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to work to bring the group back, allowing Sergio Henao (Sky) to sit comfortably in the bunch.

Landa was eventually caught a kilometre up the last ascent as Henao and Contador hit out, while up front Rosa showed no signs of fatigue as he powered to a fine win.

Having crested the climb it seemed unlikely that Henao or Contador would be able to outsprint one another and so it proved, as they crossed the line at the same time to hand the Colombian the lead.

Henao takes the lead with a 6-second advantage over Contador and a 10-second advantage over Pinot. Rodriguez is two seconds further adrift in fourth. The Colombian now faces the most important stage on the final day, the 16.5km time trial in Eibar. It’s by no means a traditional TT as it starts with another passage of the Arrate climb, albeit from a much steeper side with sections of more than 20%. The second half is made up of a descent and a short, flat section, meaning that it’s a typical, very difficult Basque TT.

Tour of the Basque Country 2016 – stage 5 results (Orio – Arrate):

1 Diego Rosa (Astana)


2 Sergio Henao (Sky)


3 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff)


4 Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)


5 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)


6 Samuel Sanchez (BMC)


7 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


8 Lawson Craddock (Cannondale)


9 Rui Costa (Lampre – Merida)


10 Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data)



General classification after stage 5:

1 Sergio Henao (Sky)


2 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff)


3 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)


4 Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)


5 Samuel Sanchez (BMC)


6 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


7 Lawson Craddock (Cannondale)


8 Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo)


9 Rui Costa (Lampre – Merida)


10 Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ)