Marco Pinotti soloed to a classy victory in stage five in the Tour of the Basque Country, Columbia-Highroad's second victory in the race in as many days.
Pinotti broke away on the final climb of Beci and then took a close but well-deserved lone win in the finish town of Zalla. The Italian rider's first place on Friday follows Michael Albasini's victory for Columbia-Highroad on stage four of the Tour of the Basque Country. Combined with Edvald Boasson Hagen's win in Ghent-Wevelgem on Wednesday, Columbia-Highroad's men's team has now taken three victories in as many days.
"When my lead rose to about 30 seconds, I thought it would be possible to stay away," Pinotti said afterwards. "It was a very tough day, raining hard and through hilly terrain, so you had to fight hard to open up a gap. Afterwards it was a question of time trialling to the finish, and that's something I'm good at, so I thought I had a chance."
"I came here with the idea of getting a stage win, and I got it. Thanks to Michael winning yesterday, the team will go away with at least two."
Former Giro d'Italia leader and time trial winner Pinotti does not rule out going for a second stage win in Saturday's final race against the clock. "It's certainly possible, we'll just have to see how it goes. I feel quite tired now, so it depends on how well I recover. For now, in any case, I just want to celebrate what has been a win victory for me and for my team."
Pinotti brings Columbia-Highroad's win tally to 17 for the season, thanks to the successful efforts of 10 different riders. Adding in the women's results, Columbia-Highroad boasts 34 wins from 15 different riders.
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