Spaniard takes second stage win in a row at the Tour of the Basque Country as Britain's Simon Yates claims third on the mountainous day
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) made it two wins in two days at the Tour of the Basque Country on the downhill finish into Eibar on stage four.
The Spaniard summited the final category one climb of the day, the Alto de Uzartza, along with the other GC contenders after a flurry of attacks, including from race leader Sergio Henao (Team Sky).
Britain’s Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) was once again among the lead group, finishing third from the reduced bunch behind Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), with no-one able to match Rodriguez’s burst of speed towards the finish line.
Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin) formed the day’s main breakaway, on a stage that took in no less than seven categorised climbs. But the pair were unable to make their efforts last until the finish, eventually being swallowed up by the peloton with around 8km to go.
Riders launched a five-minute protest ahead of Tuesday’s second stage of the Tour of the Basque Country, after metal poles…
Former Pais Vasco winner Nairo Quintana was also able to stay in touch with the lead group until the finish, taking seventh place, which leaves the top three in GC remain the same, with Henao, Rodriguez and Quintana all on the same time going into the final road stage on Friday.
The biggest losers of the day were world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), who were unable to match the pace set by the leaders and fell out of the overall top 10.
Stage five is another mountainous day, with an uphill finish in Aia, before the riders face a final time trial on Saturday to decide who will take the overall win.
Tour of the Basque Country stage four, Zumarraga – Arrate (Eibar) (162km):
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 4:05:10
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
3. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
4. Jon Izagirre (Esp) Movistar
5. Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
6. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha
9. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, all same time
1. Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky 17:13:51
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha, st
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team, st
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team, at 7 seconds
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing, at 10 seconds
6. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha, st
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC, st
8. Jon Izagirre (Esp) Movistar, st
9. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge, st
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, st