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

On the day team-mate Pete Kennaugh abandoned, after previously suffering through three difficult stages, Team Sky leader Mikel Nieve also saw his hopes for a big GC finish hampered. The Spaniard clung on to the leading group for much of the final climb but as the attacks and replies continued at the front, he was eventually spat out and tumbled out of the top ten overall as a result.

Spaniard Mikel Nieve lost time overall, but remains just 23 seconds off the podium (pic: Sirotti)

Now 15th overall, he is still within a minute of Alberto Contador and only 23 seconds behind third-placed Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida), but he will no doubt be disappointed at missing the chance to showcase his climbing credentials. Team Sky are yet to name a replacement for Richie Porte as Giro d’Italia leader. Sir Bradley Wiggins has denied it will be him while Sergio Henao is out of contention, paving the way for Nieve to possibly step in. If this is his audition however, he will be doubly keen to prove his worth over the next two days.

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