Peio Bilbao takes victory at the finish line in Amurrio after a very tough stage with the double climb to Opellora and Ozeka.
The day started calmly, with the riders aware that a tough stage awaited, with its demanding Opellora – Ozeka finish.
The day’s breakaway emerged at kilometre 42.3 of the race with Jan Polanc (23, UAD), Hugo Houle (155, IPT) and Cristian Rodríguez (106, TEN), who achieved a maximum lead of 4’58” over the peloton. The Ineos-Grenadiers team set the pace of the race and controlled the distance to the leading group.
The best of the breakaway was Cristian Rodríguez (106, TEN) who, with a strong pace on the uphill sections, maintained the lead alone. The work put in by Ineos-Grenadiers, and particularly Geraint Thomas (65, IGD) resulted in an attack by Adam Yates (67, IGD) with 25 km to go. The peloton was left with a group of around 15 riders, including the main contenders for the 2022 race.
The gap was cut to 20″ as a result of Yates’ pace, on the descent, Peio Bilbao (11, TBV) tried to pull off a surprise by reeling in the leaders even closer. There were numerous attacks among the favourites until Cristian Rodriguez (106, TEN) was caught with 18 km to go. The group of 17 riders worked together to increase the gap from the rest of the peloton and go for the stage in Amurrio. A very active Remco Evenepoel (44, QST) tried several times, but the group would not let him go. With 5 km to go Peio Bilbao tried again on a climb, but they again closed the gap.
Alaphilippe started the sprint with the group still compact, but Peio Bilbao caught up to him and took the victory by half a wheel at the finish line. It is Peio Bilbao’s first victory in the Itzulia after last year’s second place in the Hondarribia stage.
The general classification maintains the gap between the favourites with Primoz Roglic leading Remco Evenepoel by 05″ seconds. Peio Bilbao jumps to 5th place. The leaders of the different classifications are as follows:
- Individual: Primoz Roglic (1, TJV)
- Mountain: Cristian Rodríguez (106, TEN)
- Points: Julian Alaphilippe (41, QST)
- Youth: Remco Evenepoel (44, QST)
- Teams: Jumbo-Visma
- Best Euskaldun: Peio Bilbao, (11, TBV)
- Combativity (2nd stage): Cristian Rodríguez (106, TEN)