Mikkel Honore won stage five of the Tour of the Basque Country ahead of his teammate Josef Cerny on Friday as contenders for the overall title all finished together.
The Deceuninck pair fist-bumped as they cruised to the line after a long break off the Basque coastline.
“I wish Cerny could be with me here on the podium,” Honore said. “We treated it like a one-day race and the tactic paid off when we got away on the final climb”.
A post-lunch start for a relatively flat 160km run from the beachfront in Hondarribia provided the calm before the storm expected on Saturday’s big-gun, mountain-laden final day showdown.
Brandon McNulty of UAE Team Emirates retains the overall leader’s yellow jersey, 23 seconds ahead of Primoz Roglic.
But the steep inclines, including a summit finish Saturday, will see McNulty tested to the limit, with an elbow-to-elbow contest between Roglic and his 2020 Tour de France nemesis Tadej Pogacar expected.