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Dec 17, 2015 – We rewind to the 2013 edition of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (or Tour of the Basque Country) to highlight a truly epic battle between two Colombians–Carlos Betancur and Sergio Henao.
The finish during stage three at the Pais Vasco was at a monstrous summit up the second category climb of the Alto de la Lajana. With a gradient pushing above and below 21% in the final 500-meters, the finish was inevitable for the punchy climber.
Already racing over several categorized climbs during the 165km stage, Carlos Betancur and Damiano Caruso punched through a select leading group with just three kilometers to go in the race, and only two kilometers from the Alto de la Lajana.
The duo opened up a small gap of 10-seconds and quickly arrived at the final climb, it looked like it would be Betancur and Caruso in the hot seat for the stage win, but a massive acceleration from the pack shut down the gap nearly halfway up the climb. The first and only man able to actually make his way to the leading Batancur/Caruso duo was Sergio Henao. Once joining, Henao quickly made his move to take the lead.
But before Henao could get any significant gap, Betancur dropped Caruso, setting the stage for a head-to-head battle with just 100-meters to go. Henao stomped his way toward the final but Betancur was inching his way to the front with just 20-meters left. With no less than 10-meters to the finish line, Betancur and Henao collided shoulder-to-shoulder and still dug into the finish.
Henao came out the victor in the small exchange and a small bike throw at the finish secured his stage win, but the controversial contact quickly had Betancur raising his arm in protest to what might have been another significant victory in his young career.
Here is the final kilometer of the battle between Sergio Henao and Carlos Betancur at the 2013 Vuelta al Pais Vasco. For residents outside of the United States, click here for video