Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Duo make Pais Vasco podium

Quintana reins in Spain after Martin triumph

Last updated: 8th April 2013

Richie Porte and Sergio Henao wrapped up second and third positions at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco after being pipped by Nairo Quintana on the concluding time trial.

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Porte began the day on the same time as Quintana, but the Movistar man produced an inspired ride on the undulating 24km loop and crossed the line 23 seconds ahead of the Australian to snatch the overall victory.

Overnight leader Henao had been the last man down the start ramp in Beasain, and gave it his all to retain a spot on the podium, achieving his goal with just one second to spare ahead of Katusha’s Simon Spilak.

Tony Martin was the day’s stage winner – the world champion (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) clocking a time of 35 minutes 05 seconds which proved 17 seconds quicker than the second-placed Quintana. Benat Intxausti meanwhile, took third place for Movistar, a further 15 seconds adrift.

The action had taken place in wintery conditions, with rain falling throughout the day and the low temperatures forcing many riders to sacrifice their skinsuits in favour of warmer alternatives.

Only three Team Sky riders started the stage and Vasil Kiryienka rounded off a fine week by crossing the line in 15th position after Martin had laid down an unbeatable marker.

Kiryienka would ultimately lose a further 23 places but the overall honours were always going to come down to the final five riders, who were separated by just 10 seconds at the start of the day.

Late flurry

Spilak was the first of those to leave, and the Slovenian put the cat amongst the pigeons with a solid ride which yielded fifth place on the day – 19 seconds faster than the next-best finisher Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).

Porte - seeking a third-successive podium - powered out of the blocks but his time was five seconds down on Quintana at the split, and his Colombian rival continued to build his lead as he passed over a hilly course which ramped up to 12% on one particularly leg-sapping ascent.

Quintana’s victory was all-but assured when he surged over the line, and while Henao would ultimately lose the yellow jersey, his battling display ensured that third place was his by the tightest of margins, and he also topped the points classification.

Portal stays positive

When we caught up with Sports Director Nicolas Portal back at the team bus, he was keen the stress the positives and felt his riders could not have given any more in what was another great week in the saddle.

He told us: "Richie was disappointed when he finished but he gave 100% as always out there today, just as Sergio did as well.

"That was about as exciting as time trialling gets and the result could have gone numerous ways today. We've had a brilliant battle with Movistar this week and we can't really complain about two stage wins, two guys on the podium for GC, and the points classification.

"If anything, losing the GC today might actually be a good thing because it will keep these riders motivated to win the next race they enter - to make up for losing out here.

"I'm super happy with the way we've performed over the last six days, especially given that we only had six riders here. This is one of the hardest races in the calendar, and to be able to control the road stages like we did gives everyone a lot of confidence heading into the next block of racing."

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