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Samuel Sánchez was nosed out for second just at the line. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Samuel Sánchez was nosed out for second just at the line. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Stage 4: Sánchez Third

10. April 2014

BMC Racing Team's Samuel Sánchez rode to a third-place finish Thursday at Vuelta al Pais Vasco to move into the top 10 while teammate Cadel Evans finished seventh and climbed one spot to fourth in the overall standings.

Going For The Stage Win
Sanchez and Stage 4 runner-up Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) could not catch solo winner Wouter Poels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who attacked near the top of the spectator-lined climb of Alto de Usartza and held on to win by one second. Evans arrived three seconds later in a small group that contained teammate Tejay van Garderen, who finished 12th, and race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). Sánchez said he was aiming hard to win the same stage where he took victories in 2010, 2011 and 2012 on his way to winning the race overall. "The team did a real great job," Sánchez said. "We kept a good classification with our GC leaders and the option to win the stage with me. That was a pity that I didn't, but the real important thing is our team is working at its best. Cadel, Tejay and I are feeling good and tomorrow we can try to look for a stage victory before the final time trial on Saturday."

'Team Was Fantastic'
With two days to go – Saturday's 25.9-kilometer time trial and a 160.2-km road race Friday – Evans is one of four riders 36 seconds off the lead. Sánchez is 10th, at 56 seconds, and van Garderen is 13th, at 58 seconds. Sport Director Valerio Piva said the BMC Racing Team was impressive on a stage that was aggressive right from the start – averaging 52 kph the first hour. "Our team was fantastic the whole time, in front and around our leaders," he said. "It was a nice performance and is what I expected today. We still have a time trial the last day and tomorrow is a stage like today. So we are still in a good position to do a stage and a good place on the GC (general classification)."

Atapuma Withdraws
The BMC Racing Team will be without Darwin Atapuma for the final two days of the race after he withdrew midway through the stage, suffering from respiratory problems. "We decided to have him try to start, but he didn't feel so good so he stopped during the race," BMC Racing Team Dr. Giovanni Ruffini said. "In the next few days, we will evaluate his condition." Teammate Dominik Nerz is also recovering from injury, Dr. Ruffini said, after crashing while descending from the finish line after the stage to the BMC Racing Team's motorcoach. Nerz did not suffer any serious injuries.

Listen to complete comments from Piva and Sánchez (in Spanish) on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.