Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2016: Stage 2
January 1 - April 9, Markina-Xemein, Basque Country, Road - WorldTour
Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage two of the Tour of the Basque Country.
Hello from a very wet Basque Country for live coverage of the finale of stage, two.
As we join the action, there are 53km to go in the stage but the riders face the toughest climbs of the stage.
The riders are passing close to huge waterfall but will soon have to climb up to the summit. Today's stage finishes atop the Amurrio Barandio climb.
It tops out at 610m and is only just over two kilometres long but has a gradient of 11%.
The early break of the day includes two riders. They have 3:25 at the moment but the peloton is chasing them.
The two riders are: Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) and Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural).
The race route has been modified due to oil in the race. However the stage distance remains the same as does the tough finish.
45km remaining from 174km
Their lead has fallen to 3:10 as a climb kicks in.
Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural) accelerated away to take third over the top of the climb but then sits up and waits for the peloton.
Team Sky is controlling the peloton.
Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) has joined Lastras but they are going to struggle to go across to the break.
Meanwhile Alberto Contador has lost a key teammate as Sergio Paulinho abandon's the race.
Madrazo is working hard on the front, keen to ensure the break stays away as long as possible.
Earlier Lampre-Merida riders SimonePetilli and Louis Meintjes were in the break of the day but both dropped back. There are reports that Meintjes has quit the race.
@TeamDiData Tue, 5th Apr 2016 14:26:25
32km remaining from 174km
The peloton seems to have eased off with their chase. The break has extended to 3:40.
With the sun coming out and the roads drying, the overall contenders have taken off their rain jackets as they prepare for the final attacks on the steep climb to the finish.
Katusha and Orica-GreenEdge are also near the front of the peloton alongside Tinkoff and Team Sky.
A Trek-Segafredo rider went down but seems okay to continue.
29km remaining from 174km
The red jerseys of the Katusha are on the front, working for Purito Rodriguez
The Trek-Segafredo team confirms that it was Kiel Reijnen who crashed.
Teams are now riding in formations, protecting their team leaders.
@TrekSegafredo Tue, 5th Apr 2016 14:36:16
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) is now in short sleeves after taking off his cape. He's ready for the steep finale.
25km remaining from 174km
The two breakaway riders are still working together but their lead is down to 2:00.
The whole Katusha is lined out on the front of the peloton, with other teams right behind them.
18km remaining from 174km
The gap is falling rapidly now.
The Movistar team is trying to take control of the chase.
The gap is down to below a minute now.
The roads are flat at the moment but the road will soon kick up.
13km remaining from 174km
The two are about to sit up and be caught.
The peloton is down to 50 or so riders.
The peloton is racing hard as they fighting for position.
10km remaining from 174km
The Cannondale is also gathering at the front.
We have four teams lined out across the road: Cannondale, Sky, Orica and Movistar.
The road is rising gradually now and the peloton is suddenly lined out. Team Sky is hurting everyone.
Cannondale is riding for Lawson Craddock and perhaps Pierre Rolland.
Team Sky has four riders on the front with Vasil Kiryienka doing a big chunk of the hard work.
6km remaining from 174km
Sky has eased off the pace a little and the peloton reshuffles quickly as riders fight for position.
Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) is on the wheel of the Yates brothers.
The peloton is on the right of the road but other riders are moving up on the left.
3km remaining from 174km
The fight is on for position before the turn onto the climb.
The Garrastatxu climb kicks up at 11% with some points even steeper.
The climb is also very narrow, making it vital to be placed up front.
The gradient kicks in and hurts.
2km remaining from 174km
Latour of AG2r surges first but the other big names are just behind him.
Landa is at the front for Team Sky but LottoNL take over.
Contador is either suffering or waiting.
Kelderman and Landa have opened a slight lead.
The gradient is now 17%.
@Etixx_QuickStep Tue, 5th Apr 2016 15:16:06
The favourites are fighting to open gaps on their rivals as the road climbs steeply through the trees.
1km remaining from 174km
Landa hits the front as they pass under the red kite.
Costa accelerates with Contador on his wheel but they are 10 seconds down on Landa and Kelderman.
The gradient is 15%.
Landa and Kelderman are about to fight for the stage win.
The road eases as Sanchez attacks behind.
Quintana too. They could catch them on the line.
They stay clear with Landa winning the stage!
Kelderman was just few bike lengths back with Sergio Henao taking third for Sky.
@TeamSky Tue, 5th Apr 2016 15:22:40
LL Sanchez finishes now and loses more than a minute. He is no longer race leader.
Alberto Contador finished fifth on the stage at 11 seconds. Pinot was sixth at 13 seconds.
Landa was especially happy to win his first race for Team Sky and on home roads to boot.
Beyond the finish line riders are pulling on jerseys ready for the descent down to their team vehicles.
Landa now leads overall and so will pull on the yellow jersey and wear it during Wednesday's 193km third stage to Lasaka. It is again packed with climbs but finishes after some testing descents.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished eighth on the stage at 15 seconds.
He tried to attack on the easier gradient near the finish but was caught by the other riders.
Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was also off the pace a little as the fast pace set by Landa and Kelderman hurt the other riders.
The Pais Vasco is always a tough race but Landa and Team Sky are now in control.
@BMCProTeam Tue, 5th Apr 2016 15:32:12
Landa has only raced for seven days so far this season after bring slowed by illness but he is clearly on form.
Th results reveal that Lawson Craddock (Cannondale) finished an impressive 15th at 22 seconds, one place ahead of Fabio Aru (Astana).
On the podium, Landa gets the cheers and pulls on the Basque hat.
Dan Martin finished 25th today at43 seconds. That has probably put an end to his hopes of overall success.
Read our full report and see our early photo from the Pais Vasco by clicking here.
Wednesday's stage is the longest of this year's Vuelta a Pais Vasco at 193km. It starts in Vitoria - Gasteiz and ends in Lesaka.
It includes five classified climbs with the last -the steep Alto di Piedad coming close to the finish, with a fast descent to the line.
It will be another hard day of racing.
Cyclingnews will again have full coverage of all the action from the Basque Country plus coverage of the Scheldeprijs race in Belgium as the sprinters and Classics riders return to racing mid-week before Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.
Thanks for joining us for this live coverage.
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