Tour of the Basque Country 2015: Rodríguez again, Henao still leader
Stage 4 leads from Zumurraga to the sanctuary of Arrate. A decimated peloton sprints for the win and it's good old Joaquim Rodríguez being back to his best days and taking the stage. Mollema arrives second, while Sergio Henao retains the overall lead. (Slideshow route/profile)
Tour of the Basque Country 2015: race results stage 4
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa)
2. Bauke Mollema (nld) s.t.
3. Simon Yates (gbr) s.t.
4. Jon Izagirre (spa) s.t.
5. Segio Henao (col) s.t.
6. Michele Scarponi (ita) s.t.
7. Nairo Quintana (col) s.t.
8. Ilnur Zakarin (spa) s.t.
9. Rui Costa (por) s.t.
10. Thibaut Pinot (fra) s.t.
13. Michal Kwiatkowski (pol) + 0.23
GC after stage 4
1. Sergio Henao (col)
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa) s.t.
3. Nairo Quintana (col) s.t.
4. Michele Scarponi (ita) + 0.07
5. Bauke Mollema (nld) + 0.10
6. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) s.t.
7. Tejay van Garderen (usa) s.t.
8. Jon Izagirre (spa) s.t.
9. Simon Yates (gbr) s.t.
10. Simon Spilak (slo) s.t.
In the flat section leading to the first climb the peloton stays together, despite several attacks. After cresting the Asentzio a strong group of 13 riders manage to break clear. Aboard are big names such as Rohan Dennis, Lieuwe Westra and Philippe Gilbert and the pack is alert and brings them back after 60 km’s.
While climbing the Karabieta Tony Martin, Tom Danielson, Pello Bilbao and Romain Hardy jump of the front of the peloton. Sky keeps the break on a leash for leader Henao and the four never break loose more than 2 minutes. When Movistar joins forces the gain goes down to 1 minute, while Bilbao and Hardy can’t follow the pace and are dropped when climbing up Ixua.
In the flat section following the descent the duo increases the gain and when cresting the next peak, Gontzagaigana, there is 2’00” left. It lingers there and at the Santa Eufemia it is still 1’58”, but when cresting the penultimate climb, Pinares, the decimated pack is at 0’20”. All GC-favourites are aboard.
With 7 km’s left the escapees are reeled in and without delay the riders race up the closing climb. Zakarin, Izaguirre and Luis Leon Sanchez attack and Zakarin is so strong he drops the other two. Henao jumps of the front of the group with favourites and bridges the gap to the Russian.
The climb flattens out at the top and the last kilometres are slightly downhill. It’s there a group of around ten riders join the two upfront. Purito knows the terrain all to well and uses it to his advantage by bringing the extremely fast last kilometres home and winning the stage.
Henao, Quintana and Scarponi are in the first group and retain their overall position, while Bauke Mollema storms into the top-10 and is now fifth.
Tour of the Basque Country 2015 stage 4: Route, profile, climbs, and more
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