Mikkel Honoré took stage five of the Tour of the Basque Country 2021 just ahead of his team-mate Josef Černý after holding off the peloton from the original breakaway.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step decided to use their numbers in the break as Josef Černy and Mikkel Honoré dropped all but one rider in Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) on the final categorised climb of the day. They held off a fast descending Alex Aranburu and Omar Fraile (both Astana-Premier Tech).
The team-mates then used one of the small rises with 4km to go to drop Bernard with both Deceuninck riders attacking the Frenchman who held on for third ahead of the Daryl Impey (Israel Start-Up Nation) led peloton.
Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) stays in yellow going into the final stage of the race with Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) 23 seconds down in second place.
How it happened
The fifth stage of the Tour of the Basque Country 2021 started in the finish town from the day before in Hondarribia before taking on a lumpy profile but with the final climb topping out with around 30km to go with a flat run to the finish in Ondarroa after 160.2km.
Six riders got away in the day’s breakaway but the peloton were not keen to let the break go as the few sprinters in the pack were very keen to take their opportunity. The break, therefore, only managed around four minutes maximum.
The break was made up by Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Andrey Amador (Ineos Grenadiers), Andreas Leknessund (DSM), Josef Černý (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck - Quick-Step).
Back in the peloton the teams on the front were BikeExchange, EF Education-Nippo, Caja Rural, and Euskaltel-Euskadi who had all brought a sprinter to the race. Astana-Premier Tech came up with 50km to go which brought the gap down to inside two minutes.
The pace change meant that the last man to join the break, Leknessund, was the first to be dropped by the break. The Norwegian time trial champion faded on the penultimate climb but did manage to get back. He was dropped again on the final climb before he was caught with 30km to go by the peloton.
The two Deceuninck - Quick-Step riders in the break then started to drop the rest of the break but Bernard was giving his all to stay with them. Back at the peloton Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) attacked to try and bridge across to the leaders with 28km to go.
Astana-Premier Tech used the twisty descent to get two riders off the front of the peloton with the Basque duo Omar Fraile and Alex Aranburu looking like they were on rails at the 23km to go mark.
Honoré, Černý and Bernard pulled out a gap of 1-35 to the peloton with 15km to go despite three teams throwing riders into the chase. Fraile and Aranburu were being held at around 45 seconds.
The Astana-Premier Tech pair were eventually swallowed up by the peloton with 5km to go. Černý put in a massive turn before Honoré attacked clear. Bernard was unable to respond so Černý attacked too, leaving the Frenchman behind as the team-mates headed to a one-two on the day with 4km to go.
They continued to relay all the way to the line before Černy let Honoré's wheel cross the line first to take his first win at WorldTour level and second victory of the season.
Bernard managed to hold on for third place on the day just ahead of a fast-finishing peloton led by Impey.
McNulty continues to hold the leader's jersey going into the sixth and final stage of the race by 24 seconds over Roglič. The final stage is the 'Queen Stage' of the race with it finishing atop of the famous climb to Arrate, just outside of Eibar.
Stage six starts in today's finish town of Ondarroa before taking on seven categorised climbs before the summit finish on Arrate after 111.9km.
Tour of the Basque Country 2021, stage five: Hondarribia to Ondarroa (160.2km)
1. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 3-39-54
2. Josef Černy (Cze) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at same time
3. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo, at 17 seconds
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 28s
5. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education-Nippo
6. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto-Soudal
7. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie
9. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
10. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, all at the same time
General classification after stage five
1. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, in 16-05-43
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 23s
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 28s
4. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 36s
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 43s
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-07
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team, at 1-13
8. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at 1-15
9. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 1-23
10. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 1-32
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