Ion Izagirre rounds out top ten at Itzulia Basque Country
Astana – Premier Tech’s Ion Izagirre finished 11th on the sixth and final stage of Itzulia Basque Country, to secure tenth in the final General Classification of the race.
The Kazakh-Canadian team rode aggressively from the moment the flag dropped, attacking right from the start of the queen stage. Alex Aranburu and Omar Fraile were the riders who always stayed at the front, following all of the moves and attacking by themselves on the climbs and on the descents of their home roads.
In the decisive moment of the race, on the descent from Elosua climb, the fourth out of seven climbs of the day, Aranburu and Fraile increased the pace dramatically. The effort from the Basque duo made a huge selection and brought Izagirre to the front of the race, to create a leading group which also included a few GC contenders with Primoz Roglic among them.
Roglic attacked on the Krabelin climb, the hardest climb of the day, breaking away together with two more riders, while Izagirre was able to join the first chasing group on the descent. At the end of the day, Izagirre dug deep and fought all the way to the line to finish 11th, while the Frenchman David Gaudu won the final stage atop the famous Arrate climb. Roglic finished second on the stage and, thus took the final victory at Itzulia Basque Country while Izagirre rounded out the top 10 of the General Classification.
The sixth stage wrapped up a successful stage race for Astana – Premier Tech with two stage wins courtesy of Aranburu and Izagirre, who were victorious on stages two and four respectively.
“Well, we are finishing this race with two stage wins and this is a very positive moment for our team. We’ve been waiting for the first stage victory for a while and the patience paid off with two very beautiful wins. Also, as a team we did a very strong and aggressive race, staying in front in every stage, trying to attack, to break away and to put on a nice cycling show. It did not work out as we hoped in the General Classification, and at the end of the day we have just a tenth place of Ion Izagirre, but we feel like the team is improving really well and I think we will be ready for the our next goal – the Ardennes classics”, – said Giuseppe Martinelli, Sports Director.
Itzulia Basque Country, Stage 6, Ondarroa – Arrate (Eibar), 111.9 km.
Stage Top-3: 1. David Gaudu (Groupama – FDJ); 2. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma); 3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).
Astana – Premier Tech stage Top-3: 11. Ion Izagirre; 17. Jakob Fuglsang; 75. Alex Aranburu.
GC Top-3: 1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma); 2. Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma); 3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates).
Astana – Premier Tech GC Top-3: 10. Ion Izagirre; 15. Jakob Fuglsang; 38. Alex Aranburu.
Photo credit: @Getty Images