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Pinotti maintains Columbia's winning run

  • Story Highlights
  • Columbia's Marco Pinotti secures win in stage five of Tour of Basque Country
  • Pinotti's victory continues Team Columbia's impressive run of form this season
  • Alberto Contador remains the race leader ahead of final time-trial on Saturday
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(CNN) -- Team Columbia's winning streak in Europe's top races continued on Friday when Italian Marco Pinotti secured victory in stage five of the Tour of the Basque Country.

Just a day after Swiss team-mate Michael Albasini took the honors in stage four of the race in northern Spain, 33-year-old Pinotti broke away on the final climb of the day to cross the line alone at the end of the 162km stage from Guenes to Zalla.

Briton Ben Swift won the sprint for second place with another Italian, Francesco Gavazzi, coming home in third place.

Russian Vladimir Efimkin and Italian Alessandro Vanotti had earlier escaped with Pinotti but were unable to stay with him over the final few kilometers of a stage which included seven tough climbs amid cold and wet weather.

There was no change in the overall standings with reigning Giro d'Italia and Vuelta Espana champion Alberto Contador holding a narrow eight second advantage going into Saturday's final stage, a 24km time-trial in Zalla.

Columbia have been the outstanding team in the peloton this season. Apart from their successes in this race, sprinter Mark Cavendish has proved the fastest man in cycling with numerous victories -- including the Milan-San Remo classic -- while promising Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen won the Ghent-Wevelgem classic on Wednesday.

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