Porte scoops Pais Vasco stage win and moves closer to team-mate Henao’s race lead
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Friday, April 5, 2013

Porte scoops Pais Vasco stage win and moves closer to team-mate Henao’s race lead

by Shane Stokes at 12:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Race Reports and Results, Vuelta al Pais Vasco
Late attack seals victory in Beasain

Vuelta al Pais VascoTeam Sky rider Richie Porte darted to victory on the penultimate stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, attacking from a select group just over a kilometre from the line and reaching the finish four seconds clear of Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), Sergio Henao (Sky), and the rest of the chasers.

Also in that group were Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEdge), John Gadret (Ag2r La Mondiale), Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Tinkoff) and Simon Spilak (Katusha).

“It was the last road stage and everybody wanted to be in the breakaway,” said a pleased Porte afterwards. “In the end the guys up the road were the guys who had the legs to be there. They were strong riders but [Vasil] Kiryienka and Xabi [Zandio] were just absolutely incredible. They controlled things all day.

“For Sergio and myself we just had to finish it off and it worked perfectly.”

The victory happened after the long distance breakaway rider Oscar Fraile (Caja Rural) was recaptured. He fought hard to stay clear but was finally reeled in six kilometres from the line.

Porte’s victory follows on from his two stage wins and overall success in Paris-Nice plus his stage win and runner-up slot in the Criterium International.

It came after team-mate and race leader Sergio Henao covered a move by Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) on the descent to the finish. This was reeled in 3.2 kilometres from the line, with Porte making his surge soon afterwards and timing things perfectly to open a gap.

Third overall yesterday, the time gained sees him stay in the same position overall but moves him four seconds ahead of Contador and Spilak. He is now on the same overall time as Quintana, and just six seconds behind Henao.

With a 24 kilometre time trial to come tomorrow, Porte appears to be in a strong position to challenge for the final overall victory in the race. If so, it would mark his second WorldTour success of the year.

“[The weather] was the same yesterday and I think tomorrow could be much the same. At the end of the day everybody’s in the same boat. Everybody just got on with it and that’s what we do at Team Sky. I think there was no better place to be today than riding up at the front. The team were just incredible. We came here with a depleted team and I think everyone has stepped up and done a brilliant job.

“The goal now is to finish it off. I’ll enjoy today and winning this stage but tomorrow is going to be a whole different ball game. It’s not a typical time trial. There’s some climbs in there and I’ll take it as it comes. Regardless it’s been a brilliant Pays Basque. We’ve won two stages and Sergio’s had the jersey for three days now.”

How it played out:

The riders would face no less than ten climbs on a very difficult day, with the constant up and down profile certain to put them under pressure.

The first of those was the Alto de Azkarate (km 11.5, category 3), and was followed by the first category Alto de Urraki (km 31.9) plus the second category pair of the Alto de Santa Agueda (km 40.5) and the Alto de Mandubia (km 59.5).

After that the riders would face the Alto de Olaberria (km 83.7, category 2), the Alto de Gabiria (km 99.4, category 3), the Alto de Olaberria (km 112.1, category 2), the Alto de Gabiria (km 133.7, category 3), the Alto de Barbaris (km 147.1, category 2) and the Alto de Olaberria (km 160.3, category 2).

The weather conditions could best be described as wretched, with rain, sleet and freezing temperatures facing the riders.

Soon after the start Lars Petter Nordhaug (Blanco), Jerome Pineau (Omega Pharma Quick Step) and Thierry Hupond (Argos) jumped clear but were reeled in before the top of the Azkarate, where Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) was first to the summit ahead of Pinot and Ratto.

Amid cold and very wet conditions, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), Sandy Casar (FDJ) and Andreas Klöden (RadioShack Leopard) were amongst the riders who retired. Meanwhile José Herrada (Movistar) and Egor Silin (Astana) remained fully focussed and clipped away on the Alto de Urraki. They went over the top in that order, twenty seconds ahead of a chasing group at the summit of the category one climb.

Some very quick racing followed and on the Alto de Santa Agueda (km 40.5) the peloton was in two halves. Silin was feeling good and was out front alone at the 50 kilometre point, being chased by a group. They merged on the climb of the Alto de Mandubia, with Herrada, Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp), Jon Izaguirre (Euskaltel), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Rui Costa (Movistar), Mikael Cherel (Ag2r La Mondiale), Dani Moreno (Katusha), Lauren Didier (RadioShack Leopard) and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) getting across.

The ten had a minute after 65 kilometres of racing and increased this to one minute 20 seconds at kilometre 77. The break raced on to the first of three ascents of the Alto de Olaberria (km 83.7), where Moreno, Costa and Silin were at the front going over the prime line. The gap had grown to one and a half minutes, but dropped to 59 seconds by kilometre 75.

Fraile starts his bid for stage success:

Behind, Oscar Fraile (Caja Rural) and his team-mate Amets Txurruka jumped clear, the latter seeking to bolster his lead in the sprints and mountains classifications. Going over the top of the Alto de Gabiria (km. 99.4), they were 48 seconds behind Costa, Herrada and Navarro, who were slightly ahead of Fuglsand and Talansky.

The two chasers continued to ride hard, passing Izagirre and Cherel. Txurruka later had a problem and Fraile continued alone, finally catching the leaders with 53 kilometres remaining, just before scaling the Alto de Olaberria for the second time.

The gap was 45 seconds with 50 kilometers to go and, sensing that the chance had to be seized, Fraile attacked and got a gap. He had opened a 46 second lead over Costa, Herrada, Navarro, Talansky, Fuglsang and Izagirre with 43 kilometres left, crossing the finish line with one circuit remaining.

The chasers were caught very soon afterwards, leaving Fraile alone out front. He led over the Alto de Gabiria, where his advantage over the Kiryenka (Sky)-led peloton was one minute 36 seconds, and crested the Alto de Barbaris (km 147.1) with a minute left of that advantage.

From that point there remained just nineteen kilometres. The peloton was accelerating behind and it became clear that Fraile’s chances were fading. He continued to fight, though, the 22 year old putting in a dogged display.

With eight kilometres remaining, Fraile had just 28 seconds and his chances were looking bleak. There were plenty of riders left behind ready to make their move, but he continued to drive hard, showing great courage.

They drew steadily closer to him and finally made the junction with six kilometres to go. Race leader Sergio Henao (Sky) was the one who made the junction, then Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) jumped hard and tried to get a gap. Last year’s overall winner gave it everything but was covered by Henao, Simon Spilak (Katusha), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Richie Porte (Sky).

Sanchez went again with 5.6 kilometres remaining, then Porte came through and drove hard. Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Tinkoff) had missed the move and Porte was trying to ensure the Spaniard couldn't return.

The riders hurtled down the descent, with the wet conditions suiting Sanchez. He led the charge with Henao on his wheel, the latter mindful of the fact that Sanchez had started the day just 47 seconds back and was a threat.

Under the pace being set by Sanchez, the duo pulled clear of the rest, with the chase being led by Spilak. Sanchez continued to do all the work on the flatter section after the descent, determined to go for the stage win. However the duo were caught with 3.2 kilometres to go.

Jean Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEdge) had succeeded in getting up to the others, as did Contador. Porte wanted the stage win and jumped clear just before the final kilometre, quickly getting a gap and then riding to victory.

Sanchez and Uran led home the chasing group, four seconds back, with Porte’s time gain moving him closer to the race lead and making it possible for him to win the race overall in tomorrow’s time trial.

Vuelta al Pais Vasco (WorldTour)

Stage 5, Eibar to Beasain:

1, Richie Porte (Sky) 166 kilometres in 4 hours 40 mins 43 secs
2, Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) at 4 secs
3, Sergio Henao (Sky)
4, Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
5, Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEdge)
6, John Gadret (Ag2r La Mondiale)
7, Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Tinkoff)
8, Simon Spilak (Katusha) all same time
9, Diego Ulissi (Lampre) at 20 secs
10, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha)
11, Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) both same time
12, Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil DCM) at 27 secs
13, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) same time
14, Omar Fraile (Caja Rural) at 41 secs
15, Maxime Monfort (RadioShack Leopard) at 44 secs
16, Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard)
17, Rui Costa (Movistar)
18, Damiano Cunego (Lampre Merida)
19, Peter Velits (Omega Pharma Quick Step)
20, Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo Tinkoff) all same time

General classification after stage 5:

1, Sergio Henao (Sky Procycling) 21 hours 4 mins 7 secs
2, Nairo Quintana Rojas (Movistar Team) at 6 secs
3, Richie Porte (Sky Procycling)
4, Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 10 secs
5, Simon Spilak (Katusha)
6, Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) at 35 secs
7, Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) at 37 secs
8, Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 47 secs
9, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) at 51 secs
10, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) at 1 min 3 secs
11, John Gadret (Ag2r La Mondiale) at 1 min 7 secs
12, Wout Poels (Vacansoleil DCM) at 1 min 23 secs
13, Damiano Cunego (Lampre Merida) at 1 min 28 secs
14, Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) at 1min 47 secs
15, Benat Intxausti (Movistar) at 1 min 48 secs
16, Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo Tinkoff) at 2 mins 25 secs
17, Rui Costa (Movistar) at 2 mins 26 secs
18, Yohann Bagot (Cofidis) at 3 mins 9 secs
19, Peter Velits (Omega Pharma Quick Step) at 3 mins 43 secs
20, Cayetano Jose Sarmiento (Cannondale) at 3 mins 51 secs


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