The Itzulia 2021, which featured 167 riders, began with a 13 km time trial in Bilbao in which Primoz Roglic (141, JVT) was proclaimed stage winner with a time of 17’17”, closely followed just 2 seconds behind by Brandon McNulty (31, UAD), who was the surprise of this year’s race.
Alex Aranburu (3, AST) won the second stage in Sestao and took second place in the general classification but dropped points during the subsequent stages. Tadej Pogacar (31, UAD) and Roglic battled for victory during stage 3 at the Ermualde finish line in a tight sprint that ended up with Pogacar taking the win. This victory put Pogacar 20″ behind his compatriot Roglic – the race leader at the time – and McNulty came in third.
Primoz Roglic led the general classification from the outset, although McNulty did snatch it away from him in stage 4 by finishing third in Hondarribia. Stage 4 also saw the 2019 champion Ion Izaguirre (1, AST) win by the narrowest of margins in a sprint against Pello Bilbao (173, TBV) who climbed to fourth overall.
The general classification remained unchanged during the penultimate stage, with McNulty leading the way, Roglic 23″ behind him and Vingegaard (147, JVT) third at 28″. Roglic was proclaimed Itzulia 2021 champion in the sixth and final stage of the race, after a breakaway with race winner Gaudu (43, GFC). The Slovenian champion shared the podium with his teammate Vingegaard in second place and his Slovenian compatriot Pogacar in third.
This Itzulia was unforgettable.