Fourth for Verona after a long day in the breakaway on stage five Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Fri 6 Apr 2018

Spaniard Carlos Verona sprinted to fourth place on today’s penultimate stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco after spending all stage in the breakaway.

The 24-year-old took his chances with a solo attack with 20kilometres to go but was shortly after joined by six riders, including the race favourites that bridged across from the peloton, before the seven leaders battled it out for the stage win.

In the end it was Omar Fraile (Astana) who claimed the stage victory into Eibar while Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo) remains the overall leader and Jack Haig moves up to 11th overall with one-day remaining.

Two in the breakaway

In the opening 25kilometres of the 168kilometre day, 13riders formed the main breakaway which included Carlos Verona and Michael Albasini for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

The large group gained a maximum advantage of over five minutes before the peloton picked up the tempo ahead of the final and hardest section of the stage, reeling the group back to three minutes with 40kilometres to go.

Action at the front

The breakaway began to split under pressure and Verona was able to remain at the head of the race, as six riders continued ahead. Eventually most of the other original breakaway riders were swallowed up by the peloton as attacks came on the penultimate climb of the day, the Endoia Gaina.

Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo), Jon Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and Mikel Landa (Team Sky) attacked away from the peloton and closed in on the remaining leaders at the front of the race.

Verona goes solo

Close to the top of the final climb, Verona decided to accelerate away from his breakaway companions, and opened up a solo 30second advantage.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider was able to crest the top of the climb in the lead, but half way down the descent, he was swept up by a group of six chasing riders, Omar Fraile (Astana), Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo), Jon Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida), Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Jose Herrada (Cofidis) and Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida).


Behind Jack Haig found himself in the next chase group on the road, which included the many general classification contenders. Haig finished in 11th place on the stage and also moved into the young riders jersey and upto 11th place overall.

Carlos Verona - 4th place

"The day was really hard, today was probably the last time that the break could make it to the final, so many people was trying to get there, and we had a special guest, the wind, which made the fight to get into the break even harder."
"Luckily Albasini and I jumped into the right move and once we opened a gap, we rode in echelon with 12 riders more, getting immediately a good advantage. We knew that anticipating ourselves was probably the only option to fight for the win, so that was what we planned and luckily we could make it." 
"In the last part of the race, the course was super hard, and the breakaway was getting smaller and smaller after every kilometre. I knew that I was in a very good shape, so I tried to save as much as possible until I did my attack with three kilometres from the top of the last climb."
"I was feeling really good, however the GC battle was too close from us, and I could not keep my advantage in the headwind with the GC riders that were coming from behind (Landa, Roglic and Izaguirre) and taking with them the other survivors of the break of the day (Herrada, Fraile, Padun)."
"I wanted to anticipate myself for the sprint, because I knew I didn’t have many possibilities, but Landa and Izaguirre were pulling really hard and it wasn’t possible to play this card. 
"At the end I was fourth in the sprint to the finish line, it was not the result that I was looking for, but honestly I could not do much more, so again I have to take the positive things out from today. I am in a very good shape and tomorrow is a new opportunity to try. For sure it will be a very hard day, but we have a very strong team and I am sure that we will do our best to be fighting for the win again, we never give up."

Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage five results:

1. Omar Fraile (Astana) 3:53:59 
2. Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo) ST
3. Jon Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) ST
4. Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

General classification after stage five:

1. Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo)17:35:19
2. Jon Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +2:13
3. Mikel Landa (Team Sky) +2:17
11. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +4:02

Photo courtesy of Getty Images