April 08, 2015

ZUMARRAGA, Spain (AP) Joaquim Rodriguez ended a year-long wait for a win on Wednesday when he edged Colombians Sergio Henao and Nairo Quintana to claim the third stage of the Tour of Basque Country.

Rodriguez won a sprint to finish the mountainous 170.7-kilometer (106-mile) ride from Vitoria to Zumarraga in 4 hours, 39 minutes, 2 seconds.

The three riders moved to the top of the overall classification on the same provisional time - seven seconds ahead of the rest - with Sky rider Henao taking over first place from Michael Matthews.

Dutch cyclist Lieuwe Westra led a solo breakaway after shedding three other riders until he was chased down by the peloton with about three kilometers (two miles) remaining.

The leading trio then surged up the second of two climbs over the category-two La Antigua hill to pull away from the rest of the pack before Rodriguez pushed ahead at the finish.

''For me this is a very special victory,'' the 35-year-old Rodriguez said. ''I felt like I had entered a very bad stretch. It's like my first victory as a professional. I hope it will be the beginning of, if not a good run, then at least a normal one. I am going to enjoy this because it means a lot.''

Rodriguez's last stage win was in March 2014 en route to winning the Volta a Catalunya.

Thursday's stage is a 162.2-kilometer (100.7-mile) mountainous ride from Zumarraga to Arrate.

The six-day race in northern Spain ends Saturday.

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