Fri, Apr 05, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Sergio Henao takes lead in Basque Tour

AFP, VITORIA, Spain

Colombia’s Sergio Henao, center, of Sky team celebrates on the podium after winning Wednesday’s third stage of the Tour of the Basque Country in Trapagaran, Spain.

Photo: EPA

Colombian Sergio Henao claimed victory on the third stage of the Tour of the Basque Country and the overall lead in the race with an impressive late surge on Wednesday up the steep mountain finish in La Lejana.

The Team Sky rider chased down a late breakaway by Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) in the final kilometer to win the 165km stage from Vitoria in just six minutes short of four hours racing.

Henao opened up an eight-second lead over fellow-Colombian Nelson Quintana (Movistar) in the overall standings, with teammate Richie Port and two-time winner of the race Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) a further two seconds back.

The set up of the stage with a daunting 500m climb in the last 10km was always going to favor the stronger climbers in the peloton, but for the third consecutive day Amets Txurruka was at the front of a breakaway group of five riders.

The Caja Rural rider along with teammate Omar Fraile, Mikel Landa (Euskadi), Larent Didier (RadioShack) and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) built up a lead of over five minutes just before the 100km mark.

The peloton then began to work their way back toward the leaders and eventually caught them with just under 10km to go.

Henao, Contador and Quintana then began to position themselves toward the front of the pack on the climb up to La Lejana and it was Henao who made the first break with 3.5km remaining.

Caruso and Betancur then hit the front just over a kilometer later, but they could not hold off Henao on the line as he surged to his second stage victory of the season.

Quintana finished in fourth, eight seconds behind, with Porte and Contador arriving together just two seconds later in sixth and seventh respectively.

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