Basque Tour – Simon Yates Third


Joaquim Rodriguez makes it two-in-a-row on stage 4 of the Tour of Basque Country, Simon Yates is third on stage and ninth overall

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Basque Tour – Simon Yates Third


Photo: © Tim De Waele / Team Katusha

Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez got a renewed taste for victory on stage 4, deciding to make it two-from-two with a second climbing stage win in the Basque Tour on Thursday.

Coming around the final corner with only 100 meters to go, Rodriguez put himself at the front of the group to sprint across the finish line and claim back-to-back wins, earning his second win of the season and 17th team win.

“Finally I did it” he said afterwards. “I knew I had to go fast in the last two corners. I had to make up something after Valverde beat me in 2012 here after a photo finish. I didn’t dare lift my hands too early. Arrate is a classic finish and it is an honor to win here.”

“It was a hard day again. The break had many minutes for most of the day. Movistar and Sky took the race in hand and the speeds were so fast. We were comfortable with Zakarin in the break, but the crash of Vicioso changed our team tactics a bit. I had to change bikes and then come back so that cost me some energy, but fortunately the last climb suited me very well”.

“When Henao went, I thought Quintana would go too, but he didn’t. Then I spoke with Simon and told him I needed his help. Good positioning was more important than speed at that moment. Tomorrow also suits me very well. We cross the Aia pass three times. I like this stage the most of all of them. If I can recover from these past two days, we’ll see how I can do for the GC” explained Joaquim Rodriguez.

Following Joaquim Rodriguez to the finish line for second and third places were Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) and Simon Yates of Orica-GreenEdge. The winning time was 4:05:10. There was no change on the general classification with Sergio Henao (Sky) still in the lead, with Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in second and third places, all on the same time.

It’s another high finish for Friday’s stage 5 although the last climb is not as big as today’s final pitch. The 156km stage begins in Eibar and ends in Aia after crossing 7-rated climbs. It will be the last opportunity for the GC contenders to shape the overall classification before Saturday’s time trial.


Third for Yates
Young British climber Simon Yates has finished third from a select group on stage four of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco in Spain today. The 22-year-old looked strong amongst a small move of a dozen riders, including all the general classification favourites, up the final category one climb that peaked just a couple of kilometres before the finish.

“Simon was really good,” sport director Neil Stephens said. “He went up the climb, he looked pretty comfortable, he rode a nice sensible race and he got to the finish.” “With 500m to go he could have won the race or he could have finished tenth. It was all down to who went into that last corner first and unfortunately for us it was Rodriquez who we knew was going to be the one to beat.”

“But Simon was certainly one of the strongest there today, he gave it his best shot and we just couldn’t quite pull it off.”

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