Tour of the Basque Country 2014 guide

Preview of the hilly Spanish stage race

Last Updated: 10/04/14 5:21pm

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The Tour of the Basque Country is a race for the climbers

The Tour of the Basque Country is a race for the climbers

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A selection of the world's best climbers and stage-race riders will renew their rivalry at the six-day Tour of the Basque Country (April 7-12).

Touring the Basque region of northern Spain, the race is made up of five days on mountainous terrain and then a mid-distance individual time trial.

The event has traditionally been won by climbers and with all of this year's road stages containing multiple categorised ascents, 2014 should be no different.

Here is how the race will pan out...

Stages

Stage 1: Monday, April 7 - Ordizia to Ordizia - 153.4km | Report

Result and general classification

Alberto Contador won stage one solo

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, 4:05:07
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +14secs
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +34
4 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, +36
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, same time
6 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky, st
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, st
9 Roman Kreuziger (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +54
10 Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana, st

Stage 2: Tuesday, April 8 - Ordizia to Dantxarinea (Urdazabi) - 155.8km | Report

Result

Tony Martin broke away for victory on stage two

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 3:46:17
2 Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky, +30secs
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, same time
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
5 Paul Martens (Ger) belkin, st
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, st
7 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana, st
8 Yukiya Arashiro (Jap) Europcar, st
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
10 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st

General classification

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, 7:51:54
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +14secs
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +34
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +36
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, same time
6 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky, st
8 Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, st
9 Roman Kreuziger (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +54
10 Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana, st

Stage 3: Wednesday, April 9 - Urdazabi-Urdax to Vitoria-Gasteiz - 194.7km | Report

Result

Michael Matthews sprinted to victory on stage three

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
2 Kevin Reza (Fra) Europcar, same time
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
4 Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky, st
5 Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin, st
6 Yukiya Arashiro (Jap) Europcar, st
7 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale, st
8 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana, st
9 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana, st
10 Tosh van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol, st

General classification

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, 12:54:03
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +14secs
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +34
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +36
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, same time
6 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, st
8 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky, st
9 Roman Kreuziger (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +54
10 Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana, st

Stage 4: Thursday, April 10 - Vitoria-Gasteiz to Arrate (Eibar) - 151km | Report

Result/b>

1 Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +1sec
3 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC, same time
4 Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp, +3
5 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, st
6 Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, st
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, st
8 Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana, st
9 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, st

General classification

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, 7:51:54
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +12secs
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +36
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, same time
5 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
6 Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, st
7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +41
8 Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana, +54
9 Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +55
10 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC, +56

Stage 5: Friday, April 11 - Eibar to Markina-Xemein - 160.2km

Day five follows a saw-tooth profile containing five categorised climbs, the last four of which are crammed into a bruising final 53km. After two category-three ascents have softened up the legs, the category-one Alto de Izua is sure to break up the peloton ahead of a breakneck descent back down to the foot of the final climb, the category-two Alt de Aiastia. Punchier climbers will look to escape on the upper slopes and then maintain their lead on the 8.4km to the finish line.

Stage 6: Saturday, April 12 - Markina-Xemein to Markina-Xemein - 25.9km individual time trial

The race will end with - and potentially be decided by -a rolling time trial. The route contains two climbs and although both are uncategorised, they are both sizeable enough to take the advantage away from pure time-triallists and hand the onus to those who can climb as well. Whoever prevails, this will be a vital day in the general classification.

The favourites

Tirreno-Adriatico winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Ruta del Sol winner Alejandro Valverde (Movisar) are likely to be leading contenders given that the parcours suits their styles and that both are in excellent form. Paris-Nice winner Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) could also figure prominently, while Cadel Evans (BMC) will be keen to show he is back in form one month out from his bid for glory at the Giro d'Italia.

Brit watch

Josh Edmondson (Team Sky)
Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky)
Ben Swift (Team Sky)
Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge)
Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge)

The jerseys

Key stage

Stage six. Although stage four is the race's only summit finish and will shake up the general classification, stage six's individual time trial is long enough to create even bigger gaps between the contenders for overall victory.

Past winners

2013: Nairo Quintana (Col)
2012: Samuel Sanchez (Spa)
2011: Andreas Kloden (Ger)
2010: Chris Horner (USA)
2009: Alberto Contador (Spa)
2008: Alberto Contador (Spa)
2007: Juan Jose Cobo (Spa)
2005: Danilo Di Luca (Ita)
2000: Andreas Kloden (Ger)

Teams and riders

WorldTour

Ag2r-La Mondiale: Carlos Betancur (Col), Hubert Dupont (Fra), Ben Gastauer (Matteo Montaguti (Ita), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra), Christophe Riblon (Fra), Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra).

Astana: Mikel Landa (Spa), Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz), Enrico Gasparotto (Ita), Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Alesandro Vanotti (Ita), Maxim iglinskiy (Kaz), Tanel Kangert (Est), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe).

Belkin: Bauke Mollema (Ned), Stef Clement (Ned), Robert Gesink (Ned), Jonathan Hivert (Fra), Paul Martens (Ger), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor), David Tanner (Aus), Jack Bobridge (Aus).

Cadel Evans is searching for his best form

BMC: Cadel Evans (Aus), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Samuel Sanchez (Spa), Darwin Atapuma (Col), Amael Moinard (Fra), Dominik Nerz (Ger), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (Svk).

Cannondale: Davide Villella (Ita), Damiano Caruso (Ita), Alberto Bettiol (Ita), Michel Koch (Ger), Jean-Marc Marino (Fra), Daniele Ratto (Ita), Jose Sarmiento (Col), Cristiano Salerno (Ita).

Europcar: Yukiya Arashiro (Jap), Natnael Berhane (Eri), Cyril Gautier (Fra), Pierre Rolland (Fra), Davide Malacarne (Ita), Maxime Mederel (Fra), Romain Sicard (Fra), Kevin Reza (Fra).

FDJ: Thibaut Pinot (Fra), Arthur Vichot (Fra), Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra), Arnaud Courteille (Fra), Kenny Elissonde (Fra), Geoffrey Soupe (Fra), Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra), Jussi Veikkanen (Fin).

Garmin-Sharp: Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Janier Acevedo (Col), Andre Cardoso (Por), Tom Danielson (USA), Caleb Fairly (USA), Koldo Fernandez (Spa), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned), Fabian Wegmann (Ger).

Giant-Shimano: Warren Barguil (Fra), Tom Dumoulin (Ned), Thomas Damuseau (Fra), Johannes Frohlinger (Ger), Simon Geschke (Ger), Daan Olivier (Ned), Tom Peterson (USA), Georg Preidler (Aut).

Alejandro Valverde has been in fine form this year

Katusha: Simon Spilak (Slo), Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), Pavel Brutt (Rus), Sergei Chernetckii (Rus), Petr Ignatenko (Rus), Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus), Egor Silin (Rus), Yuri Trofimov (Rus).

Lampre-Merida: Rui Costa (Por), Damiano Cunego (Ita), Jose Serpa (Col), Kristijan Durasek (Cro), Jan Polanc (Slo), Nelson Oliveira (Por), Gang Xu (Chi).

Lotto-Belisol: Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel), Maxime Monfort (Bel), Sander Armee (Bel), Bart de Clerq (Bel), Tosh van der Sande (Bel), Dennis Vanendert (Bel), Jelle Vanendert (Bel), Tim Wellens (Bel).

Movistar: Jesus Herrada (Spa), Benat Intxausti (Spa), Gorka Izagirre (Spa), Ion Izagirre (Spa), Javier Moreno (Spa), Ruben Plaza (Spa), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa), Alejandro Valverde (Spa).

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step: Tony Martin (Ger), Jan Bakelants (Bel), Michal Golas (Pol), Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol), Wout Poels (Ned), Pieter Serry (Bel), Julien Vermote (Bel), Carlos Verona (Spa).

Orica-GreenEdge: Michael Albasini (Swi), Simon Gerrans (Aus), Esteban Chaves (Col), Michael Matthews (Aus), Christian Meier (Can), Pieter Weening (Ned), Adam Yates (GB), Simon Yates (GB).

Alberto Contador is a previous winner of the race

Team Sky: Mikel Nieve (Spa), Sebastian Henao (Col), Josh Edmondson (GB), Peter Kennaugh (GB), Vasil Kiryienka (Blr), Danny Pate (USA), Ben Swift (GB), Xabier Zandio (Spa).

Tinkoff-Saxo: Alberto Contador (Spa), Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Bruno Pires (Por), Jesper Hansen (Den), Jesus Hernandez (Spa), Michael Morkov (Den), Rory Sutherland (Aus), Sergio Paulinho (Por).

Trek: Andy Schleck (Lux), Frank Schleck (Lux), Haimar Zubeldia (Spa), Robert Kiserlovski (Cro), Matthew Busche (USA), Laurent Didier (Lux), Jens Voigt (Ger), Bob Jungels (Lux).

Pro Continental

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA: Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa), Amets Txurruka (Spa), David Arroyo (Spa), Pello Bilbao (Spa), Fabricio Ferrar (Uru), Omar Fraile (Spa), Angel Madrazo (Spa), Antonio Piedra (Spa).

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