Verona wins the polka-dot jersey after spending another day in the breakaway at Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Sat 7 Apr 2018

Spaniard Carlos Verona animated much of today’s final stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco, making it into the day’s main breakaway once again, before taking extra points to win the mountain classification jersey.

The short, brutal 122kilometre stage was made even harder with rain and cold conditions, Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo) was able to fight off the attacks to seal the overall victory with Australian Jack Haig concluding the tour with 16th place overall after consistent performances all week.

Another day, another breakaway for Verona

From the start of the stage, Verona worked relentlessly once again to make it into the day’s breakaway, finally doing so after 35kilometres of racing after the first two of eight categorised climbs.

The 25-year-old escaped with five other riders but only held a small margin over the reduced and attentive peloton in the early stages.

Two in the front

After 50kilometres of racing, the peloton eased slightly and Lucas Hamilton jumped into a small group which bridged across to the front of the race and joined teammate Verona.

The new combination of 10 leaders worked quickly to increase their lead to over three minutes, before four more riders also made it across and the group swelled to 14.

Busy finale

At the start of the first category climb with 35kilometres to go, attacks came from the peloton and the gap to the escapees dropped to just one minute. 

Verona continued to push on and remained at the front of the race with three other riders, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Enric Mas (Quickstep-Floors) and Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), as the other remaining breakaway riders dropped off the pace and headed back to the significantly reduced peloton.

Despite his hard efforts, Verona was finally absorbed by the chasing group on the final first category climb of the day with only five kilometres remaining. Más attacked with four kilometres to go and held on for a solo victory with Verona crossing the line in 14th place.

As a reward for his efforts in the breakaway all day, Verona was able to pick up many mountains points to finish the race as the winner of the polka-dot mountains jersey.

Carlos Verona - 14th place 

"Despite being in the break yesterday, when I woke up this morning I was feeling very well and it was already in my mind to try again for the breakaway. I knew that in such a hard final climb, it would be difficult to win against the GC contenders, so I had the obligation to anticipate my move.
"I also had my eye on the KOM jersey, I knew I was sitting in second place just eight points behind the leader, so going in the break I had the possibility to win this classification. 
"When we started I immediately felt that I had really good legs, it was a super hard course so I just went in every single move untll the breakaway was gone, and in that way I could take the maximum points for the mountain classification. 
"At the end I was first over seven of the eight GPM’s of the day except  the last one. Myself and the other three survivors of the break hit the final climb with just a handful of seconds. I set my tempo, but it wasn’t good enough to follow the stage winner Enric Mas.
"I think we have to be happy with the team's attitude, fighting for every single stage until the end and to be on the final podium with the KOM jersey is the reward for the offensive attitude of the team during the whole week."

Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage six results:

1. Enric Mas (Quickstep-Floors) 3:17:34
2. Mikel Landa (Team Sky) +0:12
3. Jon Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +0:27
14. Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:50

Final general classification:

1. Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo) 20:53:47
2. Mikel Landa (Team Sky) +1:42
3. Jon Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +1:09
16. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +10:21

Photo courtesy of Getty Images