Tour of the Basque Country: stage four - five observations

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Tour of the Basque Country: stage four – five observations

Wout Poels shines, Alejandro Valverde attacks and Simon Yates impresses

It seems harsh to criticise Michal Kwiatkowski, who has been in outstanding form in the Basque Country and played a big role in Poels victory on stage four. But after disrupting the chase – which he had done well to rejoin after appearing out of contention at one point on the Usartza – Kwiatkowski lost contact with the chasing pack and lost time overall in the process.

 

He now lies seventh on GC, 41 seconds in arrears of Contador and five seconds off the podium places. With a time trial to conclude the stage he will no doubt be confident of clawing it back, but it is another reminder he is not quite at the level of the likes of Contador and Valverde yet. His Tirreno-Adriatico GC challenge faded on the Guardiagrele, and the Usartza may well have put paid to his chances at the Itzulia. Then again, with two stage victories to their name so far, perhaps Omega Pharma-Quickstep have a few more surprises planned.

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