Diego Rosa's long-range attack succeeds in Pais Vasco, as Sky's Sergio Henao takes GC lead with one day remaining.

Diego Rosa took his País Vasco victory the hard way, part of a long-range breakaway in the race’s queen stage Friday. The Astana rider stopped at the line, raised his bike in the air, and walked across the line to celebrate his win after a rainy 159 kilometers in Spain. A few minutes behind, Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador had escaped the field with Sky’s Sergio Henao, and finished in that order, giving Henao the overall lead.

“I had very good feelings so I entered in the first escape,” said Rosa. “Then we were too many out there, and the bunch couldn’t give space. So I decided to take out a smaller group, and I attacked. When I remained alone at the front I thought to continue even if I was at 130km to the end. I dared so much but it went so good. It was a real ‘circus act!’”

Stage 5 results

 

Top-10 overall

 
With 10 kilometer to go, Rosa had left his 23 breakaway companions behind and held a comfortable gap of more than five minutes on the GC group. Mikel Landa chased with his Sky teammate David Lopez, slightly ahead of the peloton, with three companions in tow: Cannondale’s Simon Clarke, Etixx – Quick-Step’s Carlos Verona, and Serge Pauwels from Dimension Data.

With five kilometers remaining, on last of the day’s eight categorized climbs, a Cat. 1 ascent to Arrate, Rosa maintained his lead. About five minutes back, Landa soon dispatched all but Pauwels.

But they were soon caught as, the move went clear from the peloton: Contador attacked, and Landa’s teammate Henao was the only man who could follow.

Though Contador and Henao’s efforts pulled back around one minute of Rosa’s lead, the Italian crested the climb, about 2.5km from the line and was clear to ride to victory.

“It was a complicated day that really brings out the hardships of the sport of cycling. We had to be focused and attentive all day long because of the combination of incredible downpours and very low temperatures,” said Contador. “We gained time against some riders but the race remains still open”

The six-day race wraps up Saturday in Eibar with a 16.5km individual time trial, featuring a climb of approximately 500 meters (1,640 feet) in the first half of the course.

Stage 5 results

 

General classification

 

Points classification

 

Mountains classification

 

Youth classification

 

Team classification