April 10, 2015

AIA, Spain (AP) Mikel Landa of Spain broke away from the pack and sustained his lead as he climbed to win the fifth stage of the Tour of Basque Country on Friday, while Sergio Henao of Colombia retained the overall leader's jersey.

The locally-born Astana rider who crossed the line in four hours, six minutes, one second, finished three seconds in front of Tim Wellens of Belgium, with Tom Danielson of the United States third, 16 seconds behind.

''It's the greatest victory of my career,'' said Landa. ''I know the Tour de France is the most important race in the world, but for me this race is like the Tour.''

''Today was a day to survive,'' said Landa, adding that he had been recovering from a virus infection and wasn't sure if he would be able to compete on Friday.

Landa said Astana teammate Rein Taaramae of Estonia had been very strong throughout the stage, ''but I finished it off.''

Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain is second overall behind Henao, while Simon Yates of Britain is third overall after a mountainous 155.5-kilometer (96.6-mile) ride from Eibar to Aia that included a category 1 ascent up the Alto de Urraki peak.

After the climb - roughly halfway through the stage - Landa began his charge as he led a breakaway group that contained up to 30 riders, including Rein Taaramae, who finished fourth, 28 seconds behind.

Then, with 6.5 kilometers (four miles) to go the race split into three bunches, with Landa leading the breakaway group from the chasing pack by over a minute, while the peloton followed further back.

The six-stage race ends Saturday with an 18.3 kilometer (11.4 mile) time-trial in and around Aia.

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