Carlos Rodriguez wins the sixth stage and Juan Ayuso wins the Itzulia 2024

  • Carlos Rodriguez takes the sixth stage of the Itzulia
  • Juan Ayuso wins the Itzulia 2024 and takes his first txapela.
  • The final podium was completed by Carlos Rodriguezand Mattias Skjelmose, second and third, respectively.

We have reached the sixth and final stage of the Itzulia 2024. With both start and finish lines in Eibar, 137 kilometres and 7 mountain passes to go. The general classification is very tight with only a few seconds separating the favourites. Mattias Skjelmose (71, LDT) to defend his yellow jersey.

The day, as throughout the Itzulia, started very quickly and a very large breakaway formed with 22 riders. Almost every team had a rider involved, Visma-Lease a Bike had 3 riders.  Behind, it was up to Lidl-Trek to maintain the gap to the escapees. The most significant rider in the breakaway in terms of the general classification was Brandon Rivera (167, IGD), at 1’21” behind the leader. After the first two mountain passes of the day, the breakaway was 3’20” ahead.

At the front, David de la Cruz (234, Q36) upped the pace on the climb to Gorla which he managed to reach alone. The leader’s team was still pulling away from the peloton with a lead of 3’50”. The breakaway continued on its way, with several attempts to escape the breakaway, but without success.

Krabelin had arrived, the ascent to Arrate, one of the most feared mountain passes of the Itzulia. The breakaway kept up the pace and the attacks began from behind. Marc Soler and William Junior Lecerf jumped from the peloton at the start of the tough ramps. The race leader was 2’30” ahead. As the climb wore on, the main group started to disperse. There were no attacks among the favourites. At the Markina-Xemein pass, with 54 kilometres to go, the race leader was 55 seconds ahead of the chasing group and 1’30” ahead of the peloton. In the latter group, Bora-Hansgrohe started to close the gap in anticipation of a possible attack by Max Schachmann (36, BOH).

Marc Soler finally managed to get into the leading group of the race thanks to the work of his teammate Sjoerd Bax. At which point, and with 40 kilometres to go, he was the virtual leader of the race. Good move so far from UAE Team Emirates. Igor Arrieta (102, UAD) led the breakaway and maintained the gap. Marc took the points in the second intermediate sprint of the day. It was getting complicated for the leader.

The leader, seeing his victory at risk in Izua, upped his speed and set a very strong pace Only Ayuso, Carlos Rodríguez, Santi Buitrado and Isaac del Toro were able to follow. First Carlos Rodríguez and then Ayuso, counterattacked Skjelmose who lost a few seconds. Juan Ayuso did not look back and went solo. Ahead of him, his team-mate Marc Soler was waiting to take him further. The yellow jersey did not give up and caught Carlos Rodríguez on the climb, a rider who has gone from strength to strength at this Itzulia. On the descent to Etxebarria, Skjelmose managed to link up with Ayuso’s group. The last mountain pass of the Itzulia was the last chance to make a difference and Juan Ayuso attacked just at the start of the pass, with only Carlos Rodríguez on his wheel. The yellow jersey found an ally from the breakaway, Oscar Onley (155, DFP), to follow the two escapees, with Marc Soler still on his wheel.

The two Spaniards understood each other perfectly, and with 14 kilometres to go were already 25” ahead of Skjelmose.

Finally, Juan Ayuso and Carlos Rodríguez reached the finish line together with enough of an advantage to secure the stage victory, the overall victory and the podium. A great display by the riders in the last stage of the Itzulia 2024.

Behind them, Skjelmose’s group arrived aware that he had lost the txapela. The final podium was comprised of: Carlos Rodríguez and Mattias Skjelmose.

Standings after Stage 6

Stage winner: Carlos Rodríguez (161, IGD)

Overall individual ranking: Juan Ayuso (101, UAD)

Second place overall: Carlos Rodríguez (161, IGD)

Third place overall: Mattias Skjelmose (71, LDT)

Mountain classification: Sepp Kuss (3, TVL)

Overall points classification: Alex Aranburu (21, MOV)

Overall ranking best young rider: Juan Ayuso (101, UAD)

Overall team classification: UAE Team Emirates

Overall ranking best Basque rider: Pello Bilbao (TBV, 111)

Most combative: Marc Soler (106, UAD)

Longest breakaway: Enekoitz Azparren (177, EUS)

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Louis Meintjes wins the fourth stage of the Itzulia in Legutio  
Quinten Hermans reigns supreme in the sprint in Altsasu and wins the third stage of the Itzulia 2024