Romain Grégoire sprints to take the fifth stage of the Itzulia in Amorebieta-Etxano 

  • Romain Grégoire wins the fifth stage of the Itzulia 
  • Mikel Landa drops out of the race after a crash 
  • Mattias Skjelmose remains the race leader 

Following yesterday’s stage, the riders lined up at the start in Vitoria-Gasteiz to tackle the 175.9 km to Amorebieta-Etxano. With the favourites out of contention, a new race scenario opened up for the remaining riders.  

The stage started with the riders in a compact group, the peloton did not want to allow a breakaway. The race progressed at an average speed of 53 km/h for the first hour. After leaving the province of Araba, there was a crash which caused Mikel Landa and Pelayo Sánchez, among others, to drop out. Once again, the Itzulia was plagued by falls.  

On the Urkiola climb, the hardest ascent of the day, Sepp Kuss (3, TVL) and Isaac Del Toro (104, UAD) upped the pace and broke away from the peloton. Having achieved a maximum lead of 1 minute they took their foot off the gas after reaching the plain, with more than 60 kilometres to go Lidl-Trek led the pack.  

The whole group had compacted again until a large breakaway formed with 9 riders before the second pass through Amorebieta-Etxano: Johannes Staune-Mittet (5, TVL), Mauro Schmid (67, JAY), Harrison Wood (97, COF), Mathieu Burgaudeau (141, TEN), Martijn Tusveld (156, DFP), Enekoitz Azparren (177, EUS), Ivan Cobo (193, EKP), Jimmy Janssens (203, ADC), and Jose Manuel Diaz (221, BBH). 

The peloton again looked to regain control of the stage and caught the breakaway by maintaining a high pace and constant attacks. Marc Soler (106, UAD) and Santi Buitrago (113, TBV) both tried, the Bahrain-Victorious rider linked up with the only remaining escapee, Jimmy Janssens and started the descent The main group did not want to leave any space and reduced the gap on the descent. The downhill was very fast, with several gaps in the group. The stage was a hard nut to crack, another group of 8 riders formed, but failed to understand each other. It was clear to Lidl-Trek that they could not allow any breakaways with such small gaps in the general classification. Another attack would allow a group of 5 riders to gain a 30” margin over the peloton. The leader’s team pulling from behind as always, with UAE Team Emirates on the wheel.  

The race was well ahead of schedule, with an average speed of over 47 km/h. Now the breakaway started to work, although the last climb to Muniketagaina remained. The riders battled the approach to gain the leading positions, with many riders looking like they had a chance of taking the stage or perhaps more. Isaac del Toro tried to set a hard pace, but the peloton, with Tao Geoghegan Hart in the lead, closed the gap.  

The last few kilometres of the stage transpired at breakneck pace with Santi Buitrago launched downwards, making it difficult for other riders. Finally neutralised, with 6 kilometres to go, it was the turn of UAE Team Emirates’ Brandon McNulty to start his charge. Followed by Tao Geoghegan Hart still hard at work for his leader. Other teams started to help with the chase glimpsing an opportunity to compete for the stage.  

He was neutralised with less than 4 kilometres to go, Pablo Castrillo of Kern-Pharma had tried but without success. A group of 30 riders would reach the final straight to fight it out in a sprint.  

The fastest was Romain GRÉGOIRE from team Groupama-FDJ, whose victory was confirmed in a photo finish. Mattias Skjelmose (71, LDT) remains in the lead.  

Standings after Stage 5 

Stage winner: Romain Grégoire (83, GDF) 

Overall individual ranking: Mattias Skjelmose (71, LDT) 

Mountain classification: Louis Meintjes (121, IWT) 

Overall points classification: Alex Aranburu (21, MOV) 

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

Overall team classification: UAE Team Emirates 

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

Most combative: Isaac De Toro (104, UAD) 

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