The Queen stage for the last day of the Itzulia Basque Country 2018. After five days of racing, Primoz Roglic started with an advantage of almost two minutes over his direct rivals: Landa and Ion Izagirre.
Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, one minute of silence was taken to pay tribute to the cyclist killed in an road accident this week. The race directors showed posters supporting respect and safety measures on the roads for professional and amateur riders.
From the beginning of the stage, the attacks went on. The peloton suffered a massive crash due to the high speed imposed by the head of the group. The GC leader, Primoz Roglic and Rigoberto Urán were involved. After the four first climbs of the day, the break was formed at km 51 with 10 riders: Verona (MTS,127) Geoghegan (SKY,184) Hansen (AST,26) Mülhberger (BOH,57) Rojas (MOV,6) Enric Mas (QST,135) Betancur (MOV,3) De Gendt (LTS,112) Hamilton (MTS,123) David Lopez (SKY,186). Behind them, four more riders: Gorka Izagirre (TBH, 33), Jose Herrada (COF, 83), Madouas (GFC, 103) and Zakarin (TKA, 161) reunited at km 58 of the stage. The maximum gap obtained by the head of the race was of 3’20”, with Trek Segafredo in command.
Arriving in Izua, the race was broken by the attacks of David de la Cruz, Mikel Landa and Ion Izagirre trying to leave Roglic behind. Movistar was on the offensive in the climbs and the descents, with Quintana and Landa. On the last climb of the day Quintana attacked with 6 km to go followed by Landa, leaving the yellow jersey behind. Meanwhile, the race was commanded by Enric Mas alone in the lead.
Mas arrived first to the finish line in Arrate to claim the first victory of his professional career. Landa and Ion Izagirre were second and third.
The hard climbs of Usartza tested the legs of Primoz Roglic but the gap opened by Mikel Landa wasn’t enough to steal the Itzulia Basque Country 2018 from the Slovenian rider. The whole Movistar Team tried its best but despite the initial crash and the absence of his teammates in the second half of the stage, Roglic was strong enough to resist the attacks of his direct rivals.
It is the end of the Itzulia Basque Country 2018, an incredible show, with roads full of public, many spectacular climbs and a time-trial that made the difference. Primoz Roglic is the first Slovenian rider to win the Itzulia Basque Country.