Quinten Hermans reigns supreme in the sprint in Altsasu and wins the third stage of the Itzulia 2024

  • Quinten Hermans wins stage 3 in a very close sprint 
  • Primoz Roglic retains his lead in the general classification 
  • Differences in the general classification between the favourites remain unchanged 

Ezpeleta awoke to a radiant sun and the best cyclists in the world on its streets. The small town of Iparralde hosted the start of the third stage to Altsasu. At 190 kilometres, it is this year’s longest stage. The cyclists would have to overcome the distance and 6 mountain passes on the route.  

After the start there were many breakaway attempts, this stage being important in terms of competition for the mountain jersey. After the summit of Otxondo, a breakaway of three riders formed: Louis Meintjes (121, IWA), Quinten Hermans (202 , ADC) and Filippo Conca (233, Q36). Euskaltel-Euskadi, not happy with the breakaway, put its team to work to neutralise the escapees. The orange team ultimately managed to catch the leading trio. The first hour of the race was very fast, with an average speed of 45.2 kph. Tom Paquot (124, IWA), Alan Jousseaume (145, TEN), Eric Fagundez (226, BBH) and James Fouche (176, EUS) formed the day’s breakaway.  

Bora-Hansgrohe controlled the distance, with a maximum margin of 3’30”. The first pass through Altsasu, and the intermediate sprint, were timidly tackled by the breakaway. The pace was upped by UAE Team Emirates, Ineos Grenadiers and Bora-Hansgrohe once the peloton had passed through, with 59 kilometres to go. The three teams wanted to neutralise the breakaway. Within a few kilometres, they had reduced the distance to 45”.  

The most critical kilometres of the stage were imminent, with their narrow roads, ups and downs and the last two climbs of the day. Ineos Grenadiers pushed downhill to force the peloton and place its riders at the front. The gap to the escapees had been reduced to 15″. The breakaway was neutralised with 42 kilometres to go, but the pace did not relent. All of the leading teams still fought to lead the peloton, aware that the end of the stage was going to be complicated. There was a lot of stress in the group and a fall happened on one of the corners entering Olaberria involving race leader Primoz Roglic (31, BOH). He was able to resume but lost more than 2 minutes to the peloton. Team Bora-Hansgrohe was soon on hand to accompany Roglic forwards. The peloton continued its drive towards the finish line.  

Neither Bora-Hansgrohe nor Roglic relented and reduced the advantage to 55” with 28 kilometres to go. Great work by the team. With 25 kilometres to go, the race leader rejoined the peloton. The Lizarrusti pass and the high pace of Ineos Grenadiers reduced the main group of riders. The mountain jersey was up for grabs and Louis Meintjes upped the pace to pass alone and gain additional points in the mountains classification.  

The last kilometres were heart-stopping, with several falls, including one involving Juan Ayuso. Ultimately, Quinten Hermans of Alpecin-Deceuninck took the win in a close sprint.  

Standings after Stage 3 

Stage winner: Quinten Hermans (202, APC) 

Overall individual ranking: Primoz Roglic (31, BOH) 

Mountain classification: Louis Meintjes (121, IWT) 

Overall points classification: Primoz Roglic (31, BOH) 

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

Overall team classification: Bora-Hansgrohe 

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

Most combative: Primoz Roglic (31, BOH) 

Carlos Rodriguez wins the sixth stage and Juan Ayuso wins the Itzulia 2024
Romain Grégoire sprints to take the fifth stage of the Itzulia in Amorebieta-Etxano 
Louis Meintjes wins the fourth stage of the Itzulia in Legutio