Ion Izagirre sprints to strong second place on demanding Tour de France stage 8
Ion Izagirre narrowly missed the stage win on stage eight of the Tour de France, battling until the very end to cross the line in second place from a three-man sprint behind the solo stage winner.
With an uphill start and three category one ascents in the finale, the stage was suited to a breakaway which made for a huge fight at the beginning of the stage. Finally, after countless moves were brought back, Izagirre managed to make it into the breakaway of the day which went on to gain more than five minutes on the peloton.
Multiple riders tried their luck with attacks from the breakaway as torrential rain continued to fall, conditions which suited Basque rider Izagirre. As the breakaway split up, Izagirre dug deep and formed part of a small chase group behind Mike Woods, who was leading the race solo in the final 35 kilometres.
Izagirre attacked from the chase group and was joined by Dylan Teuns in what would be the winning move with the Belgian overtaking Izagirre and catching Woods ahead. Behind, Alexey Lutsenko showed strong form in the reduced General Classification group which remained four minutes behind on the penultimate climb.
“It was a difficult day. I was chasing full gas on the final climb and then Pogacar came from the back too. Today, Teuns showed that he was the strongest guy. I’m sad because I made a big mistake today to take a rain jacket at the top of one of the climbs. I missed the first group and dropped and on the next climb I spent a lot of energy to come back,” said Izagirre.
Izagirre continued to chase behind Teuns and was joined by new race leader Tadej Pogacar at the top of the final climb, with the duo catching Woods on the descent. The trio was unable to catch Teuns but the Basque rider left it all on the road and with 200 metres to go, launched his sprint to secure second place.
“Although I’m disappointed to miss the win today, I’m happy with my form and missing out like this will make me motivated to try again. It was a really hard day with the climbing and the weather so I know I can be happy with my ride today,” added Izagirre.
Lutsenko’s perseverance saw him cross the line in a select GC group four minutes down on Teuns which sees the Kazakh rider move up to an amazing third place on the overall ranking.
Unfortunately, Stefan De Bod crashed in the last 40 kilometres of the race but was fortunate to escape any serious injuries and was able to finish the stage.
Tour de France
Stage 8: Oyonnax > Le Grand-Bornand (150.8km)
Top 3: 1. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious), 2. Ion Izagirre, 3. Mike Woods (Israel Start Up Nation)
Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 2. Ion Izagirre, 11. Alexey Lutsenko, 29. Jakob Fuglsang
Photo: Getty Images