Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar) delivered victory in another wild ride during the seven-climb second stage at the Tour of the Basque Country on a very warm and sunny Tuesday.
Kiryienka attacked on the 3km descent off the day’s final climb to drop a lead group of about 20 riders, hitting the red flag of the final kilometer with a small gap. He drove home a two-second victory ahead of an elite group led by Andreas Kloden (RadioShack) and Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek).
Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) lost the wheel in the final run into the line to cross the line 10th and ceded the lead to Kloden based on finishing position in the stage. Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) slots into third for a three-way tie for the lead, with Chris Horner (RadioShack) fourth at one second back. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervélo) moves into fifth at six seconds adrift.
For Kiryienka, it’s his first victory in two years and a big boost for Movistar.
“It’s my first win in two years, so I am very happy. I really like riding on this team. I am always giving my all to try to win, but I didn’t have the luck until today,” Kiryienka said. “I’m also close to my home. I live and train around here, so it makes it even better. My team was strong today. We don’t have a big leader like Alejandro (Valverde), but we had three or four riders who can do well here this week.”
An early move finally pulled clear in the bumpy, 167km run from Zumarraga to Lekunberri. Garmin-Cervélo ramped up the chase and neutralized the break coming into the day’s final climb, which summited about 4km from the finish line.
Horner did well to cover the moves on the day’s final climb up the Cat. 1 Alto de Azpiroz. Fabio Duarte (Geox-TMC) attacked with 5km to go, drawing out Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) and then Xavier Tondo (Movistar). Each time, Horner shadowed the moves and crossed the line with the favorites at fifth.
“It was a fast start to the stage, then it slowed down a little bit, but Garmin did a lot of work to chase down the break. We had a tailwind so it was very fast at the end. On the last climb, there were a lot of attacks, 10 or 11 attacks. I followed the wheels,” Horner said. “Everyone is marking me, it’s making it difficult, but we have two riders who can win here. I hope to have a moment when I can make a move.”
Most of the GC favorites finished in the front group at two seconds behind Kiryienka.
The 51st Basque tour continues Wednesday with the 180km third stage from Villatuerta to Zuia-Murgia. The four-climb stage should once again be explosive, with a short but steep second-category hitting at 11km to go. There’s another short but punchy unrated climb in the final 5km that could fracture the lead pack.
Rabobank will be looking to control the stage to set up their man Óscar Freire.
- 1. Vasili Kiryienka, Movistar Team (mov), at 4:06:39
- 2. Andreas KlÖden, Team Radioshack (rsh), at 2
- 3. Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek (leo), at 2
- 4. Chris SÖrensen, Saxo Bank Sungard (sbs), at 2
- 5. Christopher Horner, Team Radioshack (rsh), at 2
- 1. Andreas KlÖden, Team Radioshack (rsh), at 8:09:23
- 2. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver, Katusha Team (kat), at 0
- 3. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez, Euskaltel-Euskadi (eus), at 0
- 4. Christopher Horner, Team Radioshack (rsh), at 1
- 5. Ryder Hesjedal, Team Garmin-Cervelo (grm), at 6