Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka put its mark on Friday’s queen stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco with several riders attacking and showing off the team’s colors on the steep climbs in the Basque Country.
Knowing that today was the last chance for most riders to get a stage win before tomorrow’s final time trial, numerous riders tried to get away right from the beginning of the stage. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was eager to get in the mix and at one point, the team had no less than three riders in the leading breakaway. However, the peloton didn’t let the break get much of a gap and as the riders took on the second of today’s six categorized climbs, it all came back together. This is when Omar Fraile put in a powerful attack, which quickly gained him a gap of 30 seconds on the chasing peloton. Unfortunately, the peloton kept a furious pace and with 50 km left to go, Fraile was back in the pack again.
The high tempo discouraged anybody else from attacking on the following kilometers. Therefore, it wasn’t until the peloton started on the final climb of the day that a new selection was made. The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders fought hard to stay within contention but couldn’t follow Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who won the stage and also moved into the overall lead of the race. Serge Pauwels finished as our best rider in 26th place and he now sits 23rd in the general classification before the undulating 27.7 km time trial on Saturday.
”I’m satisfied with my effort today. I tried my best in the breakaway but Orica worked very hard in the peloton, which left us with no chance. However, I’m happy with my condition ahead of Giro d’Italia”.