Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) launched a solo attack with 8km to go to win stage five of the Tour of the Basque Country and take the overall lead off team-mate Schachmann.
Ion Izagirre (Astana) led a group of three containing Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) over the line next, 1-08 down on Buchmann, with Izagirre doing enough to jump up to second place on GC, who now trails the German by 54 seconds.
Schachmann battled hard throughout the day but finished 2-04 down in ninth place, and now finds himself in third on GC, 1-04 behind Buchmann.
How it happened
The penultimate stage of 149.8km featured two category one climbs, first a 3km climb with an average gradient of 13 per cent (maxing out at 24 per cent) up to Izua and then the summit finish up to Usartza, a 5km climb with an average gradient of nine per cent.
Arrate, today’s finish town, also saw the climax of stage three of the 2012 Vuelta, where Joaquim Rodriguez stopped pedalling metres from the finish line allowing Alejandro Valverde to sneak in ahead and take the stage win.
With only two days left in this year’s Basque tour and race leader Max Schachmann just 51 seconds ahead in the overall classification, attacks were expected from the other GC contenders.
It was a nervy start to the race, with various breakaway attempts quickly reeled in, but gaps started to appear in the peloton as they went up the Arribieta, a third category climb, with Schachmann digging in to stay in touch with the peloton.
Luis León Sánchez (Astana) teased the peloton with a number of attacks, finally getting one to stick with Buchmann, Sergio Henao (Team Sky), and Groupama-FDJ’s Valentin Madouas.
However, Sanchez was called back to the main bunch by his team with 25km to go, with the other three forging on until Buchmann peeled off the front of the group with 8km to go.
The German eventually extended his lead to a maximum of two minutes, and managed to hold them off maintaining over a minute’s advantage as he crossed the line.
Mikel Landa (Movistar) eventually sprung the chase group into action, attacking towards the top of the Usartza, taking Adam Yates, Ion Izagirre and Fuglsang with him until he was dropped.
Dan Martin finished strongly in sixth to move up to fourth on GC, with Jakob Fuglsang also moving up from seventh to fifth.
Tomorrow’s final stage is another day of hard climbing, where Ion Izagirre has a lot of work to do to overhaul Buchmann’s lead.
Tour of the Basque Country 2019, stage five: Arrigorriaga to Arrate (149.8km)
1. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 3-44-14
2. Ion Izagirre (Esp)Astana Pro Team, at 1-08
3. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at same time
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team, at same time
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-24
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
7. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, at 1-50
8. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton Scott, at 2-04
9. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
10. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
General classification after stage five
1.Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 16-23-30
2. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Astana Pro Team, at 54 secs
3. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe,at 1-04
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-32
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team, at same time
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-55
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-56
8. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First, at 2-11
9. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, at 2-25
10. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at same time