Valverde takes stage and retains race lead in Basque Country

luis leon sanchez, ll sanchez, sanchez, tour down under tdu, stage 5, cadel evans, lance armstrong

Alejandro Valverde today won the second stage of the Tour of the Basque country from Zierbena to Viana, his second consecutive stage of the race.

The Spaniard - who was awarded yesterday's stage after the disqualification of Oscar Freire for irregular sprinting - beat his compatriot in a straight uphill sprint in Viana.

It was a run-in tailor-made for race-leader Valverde and he took advantage of a last-minute break to launch his sprint for the line.

Australia's Michael Rogers was involved in the main break of the day, but with 50km to go, Garmin and Caisse d'Epargne massed at the front to stamp out their advantage.

Sensing an imminent capture, Rogers struck out alone but was soon caught by a rampaging peloton, set on a bunch sprint. 

On the outskirts of Viana, it was anyone's race but Bradley Wiggins made a daring attack within the final three kilometres, taking two riders with him; a promising move, it looked as though it could stay away, with Wiggins doing long turns on the front of the group.

Coming into the final corner of the 217km hilly stage to Viana, the three escapees still commanded a slight advantage over what remained of the main field.

But as the road kicked up Valverde surged to the front to edge out Freire and retain the lead of the race.  

Tour of the Basque Country, stage two: Zierbena-Viana, 217km

1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

2. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank st

3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre at 1 sec

4. Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC Columbia

5. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin

7. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas

8. Alexander Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha

9. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre

10. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank

General classification after stage two

1.Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

2. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank st

3. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin at 1 sec

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1