Riders lifting their bikes above their head to celebrate victory is a regular image from mountainbike and 'cross races but in road cycling it's a far less common sight. A former mountain biker, Diego Rosa's stage 4 victory celebration at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco was one that hadn't been see in road cycling for some time and one that the Astana rider explained at a 'circus act'.
The 27-year-old had a substantial advantage over several GC contenders on the run in to Arrante, having spent the day in the breakaway, with Sergio Henao (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) crossing the line in second and third, 3:13 minutes in arrears. With his substantial time gap to the chasers, Rosa explained he had plenty of time to decide on how he would celebrate his victory and Astana's second of the race.
"I had still a big gap on the riders behind me so I've decided to cross the line as the biker normally does, I was a biker so it came natural to me," Rosa said of his early off-road cycling career. "For sure, almost 130 km alone at the front hasn't been a joke but I dared, my legs gave me the answers I was searching for, and I didn't look back until I've seen the arch of the finish."
Rosa's win was his first at WorldTour level and second in the colours of the Kazah team having won Milano-Torino last September. A key domestique for Fabio Aru, Rosa was given the freedom to pursue his personal ambitions and added his win is confirmation of his development since joining the WorldTour squad in 2015.
"Besides the super exploit that gave me the victory in the queen stage of this important race, I'm satisfied because finally I had been able to grow in a stage race as I dreamt to but this year I had always some flu or health problems in the previous races and, before today, I've never felt really well," said Rosa who helped Aru to second at the Giro d'Italia and overall victory at the Vuelta a Espana last year.
It wasn't all good news for Astana though with Aru crashing out the crash having fallen heavily on his left-hand side during the wet 159km stage from Orio to Arrate.
"One thought is for my captain Fabio Aru who has fallen in today's stage and was obliged to abandon the race: I have just known he has no fracture and this is the best news," added Rosa who also moved into the king of the mountain jersey following his stage win.
After abandoning the race, Aru was taken for x-rays with the team announcing there was no fracture for the Italian but "A strong contusion between the palm and the wrist of the left hand".
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