Moncoutié wins key Basque Country stage

David Moncoutié wins a key summit finish at the Tour of the Basque Country as Aitor Osa moves into t

David Moncoutié wins a key summit finish at the Tour of the Basque Country as Aitor Osa moves into t
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Cofidis haven't been among the wins too often yet this season, but French climber David Moncouti gave them an important today at the Tour of the Basque Country. Moncouti won what was widely regarded as the race's key stage to the Arboleda summit above Trapagaran. He edged out Illes Balears' Aitor Osa, who did have the consolation of taking the race lead as stage one winner Danilo Di Luca finished seven seconds adrift at the summit. A day that started grey and hinted of rain in Zarautz soon became warm and sunny, which doesn't tend to be the case at this event too often. The break of the day was formed by two local riders, Bingen Fernandez (Cofidis) and Andoni Aranaga (Kaiku), plus Aranaga's team-mate Ion Bru, who is from neighbouring Navarra and not exactly a stranger in these parts. The leading trio were caught on the approach to the first ascent of the Arboleda, their blistering pace-setting not achieving the gap it merited as the bunch pushed briskly along behind. The speed was such that there was barely time for a glance of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum as they flashed through the centre of Bilbao. Rabobank set the pace going into the final run up the 12% slopes of the Arboleda, hoping to set up defending champion Denis Menchov for the win. However, the Dutch team and their leader were unable to respond when Moncouti and Osa went clear near the top of the 7km climb, with the Frenchman edging the Basque at the very summit. Afterwards Moncouti said he also liked the look of the final day's road stage, which is another summit finish, and even the afternoon's time trial, although the Frenchman is still 20 seconds in arrears despite his win. Osa's main challengers for the overall prize are likely to be Italian, with Di Luca, Davide Rebellin and the increasingly strong-looking Damiano Cunego all in contention. Despite taking the lead, Osa was disappointed not to have won a stage that passed through his home town of Itziar earlier in the day. "I followed all of the attacks and I had nothing left when we arrived at the summit," said Osa, who won this race in 2002. Stage 2, Zarautz-La Lejana Trapagaran 1 David Moncouti (Fra) Cofidis 166km in 3.52.56 (42.76kph) 2 Aitor Osa (Spa) Illes Balears 0.01 3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.03 4 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crdit Agricole 5 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 0.06 7 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.08 8 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval 9 Michael Boogerd (Hol) Rabobank 0.13 10 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval 0.15 13 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 17 Brad McGee (Aus) Franaise des Jeux 0.21 18 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 23 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 32 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 0.35 Overall 1 Aitor Osa (Spa) Illes Balears 7.03.48 2 Di Luca 0.02 3 Halgand 4 Rebellin 5 Cunego 0.05 6 Rodriguez 0.07 7 Menchov 8 Boogerd 0.12 9 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak 0.14 10 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval 17 Rogers 0.20 18 McGee 20 Julich 31 Evans 0.35 60 Danielson 2.06
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