Rodriguez victorious in Zumarraga

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) outsprinted his three breakaway companions to win the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco's first stage in Zumarraga. The 31-year-old Spaniard led through the final corner with 100m to go and held off the late charge from Olympic road champion Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) finished third while teammate Chris Horner, the defending Pais Vasco champion, crossed the line in fourth one second later.

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) took the sprint for fifth place, six seconds behind Rodriguez, from a six-rider chase group.

With the victory, Rodriguez earned the first leader's jersey of the six-day stage race in Spain's Basque region. Sanchez and Klöden hold second and third respectively with the same time as Rodriguez with Horner fourth overall, one second behind.

"I was so happy with this victory, so much that, when I reached the finishing line, I almost cried for joy," said Rodriguez. "In the first part of my season I had some health troubles but now I hope I left behind all these troubles and I will be able to work and train in the best way for my next goals.

"I admit I was very nervous because until now in 2011 I've never been able to be among the best riders in any race I took part in. But I have to thank all the team, from Tchmil downwards, for always having told me to stay calm because our principal goal this year will be the Giro d'Italia.

"However, I needed an indication for myself and that's the reason why I told my teammates that, if we all were inside the group on the Alto de la Antigua, I would try to attack. Well, I have to say that everything was perfect and now I feel calmer and more confident for the rest of the season".

The stage was dominated by a three-man break which formed 15km into the 151.2km stage. Ivan Rovny (RadioShack), Bram Tankink (Rabobank) and Mathieu Perget (AG2R La Mondiale) pushed out a lead in excess of six minutes but the trio's escape was neutralised on the penultimate Alto de Gabiria climb with approximately 14km remaining.

For their lengthy escape Tankink earned the sprint classification jersey while Perget leads the mountains classification.

The winning break formed on the day's final climb, the 2.5km Alto de la Antigua, a savage kick-in-the-tail whose summit is positioned just 3km from the finish line and features a steepest gradient of 20 percent. Horner jumped away from the peloton early on the climb and was joined near the summit by Rodriguez. The Katusha rider was first over the top, closely followed by Horner and Sanchez. In their wake was a shattered peloton in which some riders were forced to dismount and push their bikes on the steepest pitch near the summit.

Klöden, the 2000 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco champion, was only seconds in arrears over the top of the Alto de la Antigua and the 35-year-old German bridged to the leading trio on the descent to the finish.

Sanchez went to the front approaching the last corner in the technical finale, but Rodriguez got through the corner first and took a narrow, photo-finish victory.

The peloton faces another hilly day on stage two, 163km from Zumarraga to Lekunberri, in which the riders face seven categorised climbs, including the category one Alto de Azpiroza only 3km from the finish.

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Full Results
1Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team4:02:42
2Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack
4Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack0:00:01
5Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:00:06
6Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
7David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
8Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
9Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team
10Xavier Tondo Volpini (Spa) Movistar Team
11Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:09
12Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team0:00:18
13Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
14Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
15Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
16Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
17Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
18Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
19Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
20Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
21Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
22Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
23Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
24Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD
25Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:36
26Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Caja Rural
27Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek
28Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
29Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Geox-TMC
30Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
31Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling0:00:42
32Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad0:00:43
33Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad
34Matthew Busche (USA) Team RadioShack0:00:54
35Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha Team
36Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Pro Team Astana
37José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural
38Daniel Martin (Irl) Team Garmin-Cervelo
39Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
40Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
41Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad
42Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team
43Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
44Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team0:01:07
45Iván Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
46Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
47Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team0:01:14
48Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team0:01:16
49Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Caja Rural0:01:26
50David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team
51Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team0:01:35
52Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling
53Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:38
54Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
55Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack
56Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
57Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek
58Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
59Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
60Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Geox-TMC0:01:41
61Fabio Felline (Ita) Geox-TMC0:01:43
62Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
63Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
64Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:02:04
65Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling0:02:08
66Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioShack
67Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana
68Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar Team0:02:15
69Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team0:02:33
70Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:02:56
71Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling0:03:14
72Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale0:03:15
73Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:03:43
74Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
75Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team RadioShack0:04:06
76Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek
77Stefan Denifl (Aut) Leopard Trek
78Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto
79Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Lampre - ISD0:04:22
80Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
81Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling0:04:29
82Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team0:04:45
83Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
84Nicki Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:06:05
85Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:08:14
86Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling0:09:19
87Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
88Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
89Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:09:49
90Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
91Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Caja Rural
92Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) Lampre - ISD
93Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team
94Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Pro Team Astana
95Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
96Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
97Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
98Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMC
99Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard
100Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
101Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Pro Team Astana
102Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
103Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
104Andrew Talansky (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
105Stephen Cummings (GBr) Sky Procycling
106Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
107Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) Caja Rural0:09:55
108Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
109Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
110Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - ISD
111Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team
112Óscar Pujol Muñoz (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:11:03
113Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:07
114Daniele Ratto (Ita) Geox-TMC
115Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
116Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
117Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard
118Simone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
119José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Movistar Team
120Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
121Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard Trek
122David Lelay (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
123Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
124Jason McCartney (USA) Team RadioShack
125Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
126Mads Christensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
127Brian Vandborg (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
128Anders Lund (Den) Leopard Trek
129Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack
130Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC
131David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Geox-TMC
132Sergey Renev (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
133Juan José Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
134Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team
135Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale
136Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Lampre - ISD
137Alfredo Balloni (Ita) Lampre - ISD
138Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
139Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Highroad
140Danny Pate (USA) HTC-Highroad
141Caleb Fairly (USA) HTC-Highroad
142Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-Highroad
143Noè Gianetti (Swi) Geox-TMC0:15:24
144André Steensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:15:26
145Aitor Galdos (Spa) Caja Rural0:15:36
146Chris Butler (USA) BMC Racing Team
147Thimothy Roe (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:15:45
148Maxim Belkov (Rus) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:15:54
149Santo Anza (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
150Julian Sanchez Pimienta (Spa) Caja Rural
151Higinio Fernández (Spa) Caja Rural
152John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
153Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team
154Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-Lotto
155Julien Vermote (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:18:16
156Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:19:50
157Marco Bandiera (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
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Points
1Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team25pts
2Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi20
3Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack16
4Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack14
5Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-Cervelo12
6Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD10
7David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team9
8Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team8
9Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team7
10Xavier Tondo Volpini (Spa) Movistar Team6
11Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team5
12Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team4
13Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team3
14Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana2
15Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling1
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Sprint 1 - Zumarraga, 37.7km
1Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack3pts
2Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2
3Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team1
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Sprint 2 - Zumarraga, 100.7km
1Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team3pts
2Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack2
3Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale1
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Sprint 3 - Segura, 129km
1Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team3pts
2Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2
3Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack1
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Mountain 1 - Alto de Gabiria (Cat. 3) 11km
1Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team3pts
2Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi2
3Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Geox-TMC1
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Mountain 2 - Alto de Elosua (Cat. 2) 77km
1Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale6pts
2Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team4
3Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack2
4Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team1
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Mountain 3 - Alto de Aztiria (Cat. 2) 110km
1Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale3pts
2Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team2
3Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack1
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Mountain 4 - Alto de Barbaris (Cat. 3) 122km
1Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale3pts
2Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team2
3Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack1
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Mountain 5 - Alto de Gabiria (Cat. 3) 139km
1Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team3pts
2Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek2
3Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek1
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Mountain 6 - Alto de la Antigua (Cat. 2) 148km
1Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team6pts
2Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack4
3Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi2
4Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack1
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Teams
1Movistar Team12:08:27
2Katusha Team0:00:03
3Lampre - ISD0:00:21
4Team RadioShack0:00:34
5Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:39
6Leopard Trek0:00:51
7Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:15
8Euskaltel-Euskadi0:01:22