Thibaut Pinot wins queen stage in Ruta del Sol, Alberto Contador leads
Feb 17 2017 12:15 am CET

Thibaut Pinot wins queen stage in Ruta del Sol, Alberto Contador leads

Thibaut Pinot has won the queen stage of the Ruta del Sol in impressive fashion, catching Alberto Contador in the last kilometer before beating the Spaniard in the sprint.

The 177.9km stage was dominated by the brave escape of Belgian Tim Wellens. The Lotto-Soudal rider initially formed part of a front group of five but went solo at around 50 kilometers from the finish.

The 25-year-old kept a comfortable margin of around six minutes for some time but was eventually caught at the foot of the final climb up the Peña del Aguila.

Warren Barguil of Team Sunweb was the first of the big names to launch an attack on the climb but the Frenchman couldn't get away from the group and was caught shortly after.

Mikel Landa then attacked in what looked like an attempt to form a bridge for his leader Wout Poels, but it was instead Alberto Contador of Trek-Segafredo to use his compatriot as a slingshot and gain terrain on Poels and race leader Alejandro Valverde.

Contador soon built a significant lead over his chasers and appeared to be heading for the stage victory as well. However, FDJ's Thibaut Pinot attacked from one of the chase groups and caught Contador just before the finish line. The Frenchman clearly had the most energy left at this point and beat the seven-times Grand Tour winner for the stage win.

Valverde limited the damage, finishing only seven seconds behind Pinot and five seconds behind Contador, but still loses his leader's jersey to Contador who now has a three-second advantage over Pinot.

Photo of Thibaut Pinot (cropped) by FDJ.