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Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2017: Stage 6

Live coverage of the final stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, a 27.7-kilometre time trial starting and finishing in Eibar.

Valverde wins queen stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco
Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage 6 time trial start times
Contador in the hunt for Vuelta al Pais Vasco overall
Vuelta al Pais Vasco race hub

 

It couldn't be much tighter than this. After five days of racing at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the top five overall are locked on the same time, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) is only 3 seconds back, and all of the top 10 are within 22 seconds of Alejandro Valverde's overall lead. 

The overall standings are as follows ahead of today's decisive time trial:

1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 3:26:32
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
4 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac
5 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
6 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:03
7 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:15
8 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
9 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
10 David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:22

 

The 138 remaining riders have been setting off at one-minute intervals on this final test. The last ten riders, meanwhile, will roll down the start ramp at two-minute intervals. The full start order is here, and the final starters are as follows:

 

119 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 16:05:00
120 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 16:06:00
121 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 16:07:00
122 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 16:08:00
123 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Astana Pro Team 16:09:00
124 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 16:10:00
125 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin 16:11:00
126 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 16:12:00
127 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 16:13:00
128 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 16:14:00
129 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 16:15:00
130 David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 16:17:00
131 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 16:19:00
132 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 16:21:00
133 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 16:23:00
134 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 16:25:00
135 Louis Meintjes (RSA) Team UAE Abu Dhabi 16:27:00
136 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 16:29:00
137 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac 16:31:00
138 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 16:33:00

 

 

As we pick up the action, 84 riders have begun their time trial efforts and the early leader is Pello Bilbao (Astana). His time of 37:59 is 12 seconds quicker than Leo Vincent (FDJ).

 

Anthony Roux (FDJ) has clocked a new best time. His 37:39 is 20 seconds quicker than Bilbao.

 

Roux's teammate Jeremy Roy had the best time at the intermediate check, and he hits the finish line with a new benchmark of 37:35.

 

It's not an easy time trial to judge this afternoon. The 27.7km course begins with the climb of Elgeta, followed by a fast, sweeping descent and a rolling run to the finihs.

 

Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) comes through the time check at the base of the descent with a new best time of 20:19. Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) was only 6 seconds slower at the same point, while Roy was 15 seconds down.

 

Michael Valgren (Astana) was Roy's equal at the checkpoint, and he picks up three seconds on the Frenchman over the back end of the course to set the new quickest time.

 

It's been a disappointing time trial for Valgren's teammate Jakob Fuglsang, who comes through the checkpoint more than two minutes down.

 

Michael Matthews (Sunweb) has laid down a marker for the Ardennes this week, and his good form continues this afternoon. The Australian has the quickest time at the 12.7km mark, some 9 seconds clear of Gorka Izagirre.

 

Matthews is showing no sign of letting up as he zooms past his two-minute man Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe).

 

Former world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) sets a new fastest time of 36:50. He made enormous gains in the second part of the course.

 

Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) is next across and his time says it all about Kiryienka. He was 6 seconds up on Kiryienka and reaches the finish 39 seconds down. Good enough for the second best time to date, but some way off Kiryienka.

 

Meanwhile, Victor De La Parte (Movistar) sets a new best at the 12.7km mark, 10 seconds up on Matthews. 

 

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), a real contender for stage victory, rolls down the start ramp and begins his effort.

 

Michael Matthews scorches across the line with a new best time. His 36:39 is 11 seconds quicker than Kiryienka. A remarkable performance from the Australian.

 

Victor De La Parte was quicker than Matthews at the 12.7km mark, but he couldn't maintain the pace over the back end of the course, and he comes home with the third best time, 23 seconds down.

 

New quickest time at the 12.7km mark from Primoz Roglic, whose 19:49 is five seconds faster than Matthews.

 

We're into the final ten starters, as David De La Cruz (Quick-Step) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) are on the course and Sergio Henao (Sky) waits in the start house.

 

Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) begins the day 15 seconds down on Valverde and eyeing overall victory. He rolls down the start ramp to warm applause.

 

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) sets off on a regular road bike. The Spaniard will switch to his time trial machine at the top of the opening 6.7km climb.

 

Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) comes home with the third best time, 11 seconds down on Matthews.

 

Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) rolls home 1:07 down on Matthews. Louis Meintjes (UAE Emirates) begins his effort. Along with Michael Woods, Romain Bardet, Rigoberto Uran and Alejandro Valverde, he is one of five men locked on the same time overall going into this stage.

 

Contador is on the 6.7km climb of the Elgeta, and staying seated for the most part rather than bobbing out of the saddle. It will be fascinating to see how his bike switch pans out.

 

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) pulls out a startling ride over the second half of the course. His time of 35:58 is 41 seconds quicker than Matthews for the new best mark.

 

Uran and Bardet are out on the course. The yellow-skinsuited Valverde sits in the start house and awaits to begin his effort.

 

Contador lifts himself from the saddle as he approaches the summit of the climb. It's still not clear where he will make the switch to his low-profile machine.

 

And there's our answer. Contador makes the change shortly before the summit of the climb, and attacks the descent in his time trial bike.

 

David De La Cruz cruises through the 12.7km mark with the new best mark, 11 seconds faster than Roglic. Can he sustain that pace over the second part of the parcours?

 

Quickest time for Contador at the 12.7km mark, 19:16, 12 seconds up on Ion Izagirre, 22 seconds ahead of De La Cruz and 33 up on Roglic. How can Valverde respond?

 

A disappointing start for Romain Bardet, who reaches the time check 1:11 down on Contador at the 12.7km mark.

 

Valverde cuts if very fine on a sweeping right hand bend on the descent, but he comes through safely.

 

Michael Woods, incidentally, was 1:13 down at the 12.7km mark, and Rigoberto Uran fares even worse. The Colombian is 1:30 down at the checkpoint. His challenge for overall honours is over.

 

Valverde reaches the 12.7km mark 9 seconds down on Contador. It looks like a three-way battle between Contador, Valverde and Ion Izagirre for the overall win. As it stands, Contador is six seconds clear of Valverde in the virtual general classification.

 

A fine effort from David De La Cruz, who clocks the second best time at the finish. His 36:32 is 34 seconds down on Roglic.

 

The on-screen graphics suggest Contador is extending his advantage on Valverde, and it now stands at 12 seconds.

 

Sergio Henao (Sky) crosses the line with the 20th best time. The Colombian won't trouble the podium this afternoon..

 

Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) reaches the finish with the provisional second best time. His 36:13 is 15 seconds down on Roglic.

 

Contador tied up in the closing kilometres and conceded ground to Izagirre, but he clocks the third best time of 36:32, and that is enough to put him in the provisional overall lead pending the arrival of Valverde...

 

As things stand at the finish, Ion Izagirre would be second overall, 4 seconds down on Contador. 

 

Woods, Meintjes, Bardet and Uran are already out of the hunt, based on their times at the 12.7km mark. Only the last man on the road, Alejandro Valverde, can deny Contador overall victory at this Tour of the Basque Country.

 

The time gap on the on-screen graphics has been fluctuating wildly. The latest information suggests Valverde is just a couple of seconds down on Contador, but the only time that counts is at the finish...

 

Woods comes in almost 2:30 down, Meintjes crosses the line 1:30 down. Bardet and Uran will be next to finish, but the only podium contender left to finish is Valverde...

 

Valverde is now quicker than Contador and apparently extending his advantage. He is five seconds quicker than Contador on the road today, which would put him 8 seconds ahead in the overall standings.

 

A very disappointing day for Bardet, who comes across the line 2:33 down on Roglic.

 

Valverde has almost made up two minutes on Uran as he reaches the final kilometre...

 

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins the Tour of the Basque Country. He comes across the line in 36:07, for second place on the stage behind Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo).

 

A couple of weeks shy of his 37th birthday, Alejandro Valverde wins the Tour of the Basque Country and continues his startlingly rich vein of 2017 form. Valverde has already won the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta a Andalucia this season. 

 

Contador places second overall, 17 seconds down, while Ion Izagirre is third at 21 seconds.

 

Result:

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:35:58
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:09
3 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:15
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:23
5 David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floor 00:00:34
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb 00:00:41
7 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 00:00:52
8 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Emirates 00:00:52
9 Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:04
10 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:01:23
 

 

Final general classification:

1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 20:41:25
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:17
3 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:21
4 David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floor 00:00:44
5 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:00:59
6 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Emirates 00:01:19
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:40
8 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky 00:01:51
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac 00:01:56
10 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin 00:02:01

 

Valverde's best performance at the Tour of the Basque Country to this point was second overall in 2006 behind José Angel Gomez Marchante. Valverde also stood on the second step of the podium in 2010, behind Chris Horner, but the result was later expunged from the record books when he was handed a retroactive ban for blood doping following his implication in Operacion Puerto.  

 

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