MADRID, April 07, 2014 (AFP) – Former two-time Tour de France champion
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the first stage of the Tour of the Basque
Country on Monday following a 153.4km ride around Ordizia in northern Spain.
The 31-year-old Spaniard came home 14 seconds clear of Movistar rider and
compatriot Alejandro Valverde after the two men broke clear of the pack 8km
Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski, 23, riding for Omega-Pharma claimed third
spot, 34 secs behind Contador.
Contador, who won the race in 2008 and 2009, is coming off victory in the
Tirreno-Adriatico and a second place finish in the Tour of Catalonia.
Along with Valverde, the two Spaniards made their move on the final
category two climb at Gaintza before Contador took off alone 2km further along
Earlier an escape of four riders including Italian pair Davide Villela
(Cannondale) and Mateo Montaguti (Ag2r) had opened up a lead of 4min 40secs
before being caught by the peloton on the final climb.
It then came down to the final attack and eventual victory by Contador who
continues his impressive buildup for the Tour de France which begins on July 5
in Leeds, England for the first time.
Contador won the fabled Tour de France in 2007 and 2009 before being
stripped of his narrow 2010 victory over Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck, due to a
contested positive doping test.
Stage two on Tuesday is a 155.8km ride from Ordizia to Dantxarinea and
features a series of four climbs including a category one slog 50km from home
that could shake up the overall rankings.
The race culminates on Saturday with the sixth stage, a 25.9km individual
time-trial around Markina-Xemein.