Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) made it two for two at the Itzulia Basque Country, extending his overall lead after winning stage 2 today. Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished in 2nd place and Gorka Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida) was 3rd.
The 2nd stage of the Itzulia Basque Country was similar to the 1st, with 4 categorized climbs today. The final climb coming in the last 10km once again, before a fast descent to the finish. A fast start saw the break take over 60km to form, and when it did, 11 riders went away. With such a big group up the road, Quickstep and LottoNL-Jumbo held a high tempo to keep the gap small.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka showed a motivated performance today, with Ben King and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier riding well to keep Igor Anton and Serge Pauwels well placed near the front of the peloton. Coming into the decisive final climb of the day, the break was caught at the foot of the uphill gradient with 10km to go.
Michael Mathews (Team Sunweb) was then the first to attack and his acceleration blew the peloton to pieces as everyone tried to follow his pace. Mathews could not keep his own pace though and eventually it was Alaphilippe once again who proved to be the strongest, riding away on his own. With 7km to go, and just before the descent started, the Frenchman was joined by 3 others.
On the descent a chase group of 14 riders formed behind the leading quartet, including our Basque climber, Anton. The fast technical descent didn’t allow for the chase to reel the leaders back before the line and Alaphilippe took his second win in as many days. Anton finished with the chasers, crossing the line in 20th place.
Igor Anton – Rider
Today we raced over my home roads, the roads I have trained on my whole career. I know how difficult this area is and and knowing the route was really important. In the last part of the stage I was focused to stay in a good position although that was really difficult. On the last important climb I felt good and found my rhythm, this saw me catch the main chase group at the last moment before the top. I am really happy because it is my home country race and I had a lot of motivation. Thank you to my team for all the help today too.