Arrate sets difference between Henao and Nairo Quintana: 38" between the Colombian before Saturday's decisive TT in Eibar. Superb job by Anacona -on break-, Visconti -in pursuit of Landa's break-
(Avance) The Queen stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco brought yet another change in the race lead, with Sergio Henao (SKY) on top of the Itzulia's leaderboard for the third time in his career before the decisive TT. The Colombian came across the finish with Contador (TNK) as the best two GC contenders in Usartza, a duo which Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) tried to follow without success.
The Colombian climber from the telefónica squad was sufficiently well supported all the way until the final ascent. While Winner Anacona made his way into the 24-rider break that served as launchpad for Diego Rosa's (AST) fine solo win, Giovanni Visconti, delivering after his expressed desire to serve as final support for his team leaders, pushed through the entire ascent and descent of the Alto de San Miguel. The Italian complied with a crucial role as Mikel Landa (SKY) had surprised the main field by attacking into the downhill of the Ixua-Matsaria climb.
Over in Arrate, Contador and Henao's acceleration put 28" into Nairo, who climbs up two places overall (6th) yet concedes now 38" on the yellow jersey. The race will be decided, again in Arrate, on Saturday over a hilly 16.5km ITT.
Nairo Quintana: “It wasn’t only Arrate: the whole race was really hard today. Race conditions were tough as hell, and for some reason I can only blame myself about, I got too cold under the rain. That really hits hard in the decisive moments. I chose to follow my own pace when Contador and Henao attacked: I was already feeling a bit out of energy, and should have I followed their wheels, I knew I’d crack sooner or later. I could only keep my own rhythm to limit any losses. I hope to complete this race as strong as I can and keep fighting in tomorrow’s TT – that’s how we came here, with an aim to until the very end.”