Joaquim Rodriguez wins Tour of Basque Country

Joaquim Rodriguez wins Tour of Basque Country

Published Apr. 11, 2015 11:38 a.m. ET

AIA, Spain (AP) Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain won the Tour of Basque Country after finishing second in the decisive time trial on Saturday.

Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin won the 18.3-kilometer (11.4-mile) ride in and around Aia in 28 minutes, 46 seconds.

Rodriguez entered the sixth and final stage level on time with Sergio Henao of Colombia, but the Katusha rider broke the deadlock by finishing four seconds behind Dumoulin.

''I am very, very happy. I arrived in good shape but I never thought I would be at this level,'' Rodriguez said. ''I never imagined winning a Tour of Basque Country.''


Rodriguez, who is known for excelling in the mountains and not for his speed, said that the course with a long downhill stretch before a sharp ascent near the finish fit his strengths.

''It was a very good time trial for me, with constant ups and downs,'' Rodriguez said. ''I gave it my all and knew that with all the ups and downs I could do better than my rivals, so I tried to go extra hard on the climbs.''

It was the 35-year-old Rodriguez's first race win since the Volta a Catalunya in March 2014.

Henao and Rodriguez had spent the previous three stages of the six-day race tied at the top of the time sheets.

As leader, Henao went out last to face the time trial, just behind Rodriguez, but the Sky rider finished 13 seconds behind his rival in the final standings. In 2013, he finished the race in northern Spain in third place.

''The strongest rider won,'' Henao said.

Pre-race favorite Nairo Quintana finished fourth overall, 38 seconds off the pace, while Movistar teammate Ion Izagirre moved into third with a strong time trial.