Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel grabbed the overall lead at the Tour of the Basque Country on Friday after finishing third in the fifth and penultimate stage behind Spanish winner Carlos Rodriguez. Rodriguez, 21, made his break 9 miles from the line claiming his first professional victory with a solo finish on the final climb, seven seconds clear of Colombian Ineos teammate Daniel Felipe Martinez. Evenepoel crossed in third a further two seconds adrift after the 101 mile stage over rugged terrain from Zamudio to Mallabia which culminated on a slippery climb in wet conditions. Race favorites, including Primoz Roglic of Slovenia, the defending champion, and French world champion Julian Alaphilippe, were nearly a minute and a half off the pace.
“It happened as we had planned,” insisted Roglic, despite being left behind with a few other leading riders on the last pass, the Alto de Karabieta, 10 miles from the finish.
Quick-Step rider Evenepoel has a two-second advantage on Felipe Martinez heading into Saturday’s sixth stage finale which includes seven climbs over a 84 mile run between Eibar and Arrate.
ITZULIA BASQUE COUNTRY STAGE 5 RESULTS
|1||RODRÍGUEZ Carlos||INEOS Grenadiers||4:07:09|
|2||MARTÍNEZ Daniel Felipe||INEOS Grenadiers||0:07|
|3||EVENEPOEL Remco||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||0:09|
|5||MAS Enric||Movistar Team||0:11|
|6||BILBAO Pello||Bahrain – Victorious||0:11|
|7||VLASOV Aleksandr||BORA – hansgrohe||0:18|
|9||SOLER Marc||UAE Team Emirates||0:38|
|10||BARCELÓ Fernando||Caja Rural – Seguros RGA||1:07|
|1||EVENEPOEL Remco||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||18:12:29|
|2||MARTÍNEZ Daniel Felipe||INEOS Grenadiers||0:02|
|3||BILBAO Pello||Bahrain – Victorious||0:20|
|5||VLASOV Aleksandr||BORA – hansgrohe||0:22|
|7||MAS Enric||Movistar Team||0:37|
|9||YATES Adam||INEOS Grenadiers||1:15|
|10||SOLER Marc||UAE Team Emirates||1:30|
RBA/AFP Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency