Ion Izagirre won the Itzulia 2019 after a decisive stage which was an exhibition of the highest level of cycling. The race was exciting with a large initial breakaway of 18 riders with Mollema, Henao, Verona, Bravo, Herrada, Craddock and the King of the Mountains, De Marchi, among others.
The peloton, commanded by Astana and Mitchelton Scott didn’t let the escapees go more than 1’33. Both teams turned the race upside down in the Azurki climb, with 68 km to go. They neutralized the breakaway and the leaders from Bora-Hansgrohe started losing their position. Only the yellow jersey was able to hang on with the first group.
Fuglsang decided to shake the race even more and attacked on one on the steepest ramps of the climb, when he noticed that Buchmann was in difficulties. Ion Izaguire followed his teammate’s attack and they started opening a gap. Yates, Martin and Pogacar joined them a few meters after. They crowned the Azurki climb with 20” of advantage. The breakaway cooperated perfectly and put Buchmann and his group in serious difficulties.
On the intermediate sprint of Elgoibar, km 69 of the stage, Buchmann decided to wait for his teammates, who were 45” behind him, before the ascension to Karakate. The head of the race got at the bottom of the Karakate climb with an advantage of 1’27”, and topped it with 1’47”. Bora-Hansgrohe and Movistar took the head of the peloton to try to close the gap but it didn’t work. Daniel Martin tried to attack on the descent of Asensio but Ion Izagirre was able to close de gap.
With 3 km to go, Yates attacked and could open a few meters gap. He could maintain this distance and win the last stage of the Itzulia Basque Country 2019, followed by Daniel Martin, Jakob Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre.
The 4th place on the stage was good enough for Ion Izagirre to take the lead on the overall classification. The rider from Ormaiztegi is the winner of the Itzulia 2019, a race that hadn’t been won by a local rider since 2003 with Iban Mayo.
Ion Izagirre: “I knew that winning the Itzualia would be difficult, having in mind how Bora-Hansgrohe was riding. Yesterday we were a bit disappointed after seeing the exhibition of Buchmann. We’ve started today’s stage with an important gap to make up and we knew that it would be difficult to turn everything upside down but Astana has a very strong group and we had to try. The strategy worked exactly as we planned. Fuglsang and I attacked with three other strong riders; we saw that the leader was losing seconds and we wanted to maintain the gap. Fulgsang has done an incredible job for me and I want to thank him”.
“Winning the Itzulia 2019 is very special for me. When I crossed the finish line and they told me I was the winner, I wanted to wait the official results. But when I officially confirmed that I was the winner, I was thrilled. The Itzulia is the race of my homeland and I love it. Winning here is amazing”.
“I’m relieved. I’m always pointed as one of the favorites and that puts a lot of pressure on me. I knew that the course was perfect for my conditions this year and I’ve given everything”.
“Today I think about my family, friends and of course my team”