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La VUELTA’19 Stage 11: Home Basque Win for Mikel Iturria!

Vuelta Stage Report: Home Basque rider, Mikel Iturria, gave his Euskadi-Murias a much needed win on the eleventh stage of the Vuelta a España. In the stage to Urdax, the Spaniard crossed the line solo after a blood-curdling duel with the remains of the early break, which had been given a free pass for the day by the peloton. The GC men finished 18 minutes later.

Big win for the Basque team

Stage 11 Route with Joaquim Rodríguez – Saint Palais > Urdax-Dantxarinea 180km:

A mid-mountain stage with a final circuit similar to the one in 2016 around Urdax. Any attack will provide plenty of chances to win. This will be a transition stage for those riders with their sights set on becoming the overall winner.

After the rest day and the individual time trial, stage 11 from Saint-Palais in France to Urdax in Spain was one for the other riders, not the GC men. One Cat 2 and two Cat 3 climbs on the menu was not hard enough for the top men to make a differences, but probably too tough for the sprinters. A stage that a break could make it to the finish.

Big looser in Tuesday’s stage 10 TT – Nairo Quintana

1st and 2nd overall – Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at 1:52. Miguel Ángel López (Astana) is 3rd at 2:11 and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in fourth at 3:00

Almost from the gun, the attacks started. After 11 kilometres, eleven riders escaped from the pack: Jorge Arcas, François Bidard, Gorka Izagirre, Lawson Craddock, Damien Howson, teammates Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Ben O’Connor, Matteo Fabbro, KOM Ángel Madrazo, Alex Aranburu and Mikel Iturria. Three more riders crossed: Rémi Cavagna, Benjamin Thomas and Aranburu’s teammate Jonathan Lastra. The lead quickly increased. With O’Connor the best classified rider over half an hour down from the red jersey, Primož Roglič, the escape didn’t pose any danger to the overall places. In the peloton, Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma teammates kept the time difference between 6 and 8 minutes.

A day in the Basque Country

After more than 70 kilometres, the leading group reached the foot of the Col d’Osquich, the first climb of the day. Madrazo, leader of the mountain classification since stage 2, must have rested the previous two days and again went on the hunt for more points today. On the climb he was the first to the summit to add another 3 points to his total. After that, Jumbo-Visma allowed the lead to increased further.

The Colombian Club

The ‘break of the day’

The leading group took more time
At the foot of the Col d’Ispéguy, the second climb, after 116 kilometres, the difference had increased to almost 10 minutes, making it clear that the stage winner would come from the break. 4 kilometres from the summit of the more than 7 kilometre long climb, Izagirre attacked, as Madrazo struggled to hold on. Izagirre didn’t manage to escape, but in the last kilometre managed to take a gap with Aranburu.

Not an easy day for everyone

The break was allowed to go

On the descent the duo grabbed 16 seconds from their pursuers, Craddock was the first to cross. At 39 kilometres from the finish, Howson and Ghebreigzabhier also joined the new leading group. Shortly before the summit of the Col de Otxondo, the third and last climb, Bidard and Fabbro also managed bridged the gap. That gave seven riders up front. The chasers followed at around half a minute.

Jumbo-Visma didn’t chase too hard

Three climbs, but not too hard

Once down in Dantxarinea it was still 30 kilometres to race to the finish in Urdax. At that moment, Fabbro punctured, while Lastra made it to the front. The others could see the leaders and lifted the pace and so the original break was back together, only O’Connor and Madrazo were missing. With that the battle for stage win could start again.

The break soon built up a good lead

A nice ride in the Basque Country for the peloton

Iturria makes his move
Almost immediately after Iturria had returned to the leading group, he attacked. The Spaniard in the green jersey of Euskadi-Murias started the last 20 kilometres with a half minute lead. Cavagna punctured, but the Deceuninck – Quick-Step Frenchman returned and counter-attacked the lone leader.

The battle would be between the front riders

It was cat and mouse in the finalé

Lastra went with him 10 kilometres from the finish. Ghebreigzabhier joined the duo and dropped them immediately. Moments later Bidard, Craddock, Howson and Lastra also joined the Eritrean. In the last four and a half kilometres, Iturria had barely 10 seconds from the five riders in pursuit. Stage 11 was ready for an exciting finalé, which could still go any way.

Mikel Iturria solo win

Ghebreigzabhier and Howson were close with 1K to go, but Iturria held out. The road descended to the finish in Urdax and because the chasers looked at each other and nobody wanted to sacrifice themselves for the other, the Spaniard was able to hold them at bay. With that, the battle was over and the Euskadi-Murias rider was able to raise his arms in disbelief for the first professional victory of his career.

Lastra took 2nd

Peloton with Roglič cross the finish line at 18 minutes
Just 6 seconds later, Lastra took second place, ahead of Craddock. Then it was a long wait for the peloton to arrive, led by Jumbo-Visma. More than 18 minutes behind stage winner Iturria rolled in the big group. Overall leader Primož Roglič had a calm day and will wear the red jersey tomorrow as the Vuelta moves on to the cycling city of Bilbao.

Roglic and the others came in 18 minutes later – Rest day after the time trial

Stage winner, Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias): “To win at La Vuelta, and furthermore close to home and with my family around, is a dream come true. Before I came to the race, when the selection was made, they asked me which stage I’d like to win, and I chose this one. I’m not a cyclist used to winning and to open my record at La Vuelta is a dream. I suffered a lot in the climbs. I was feeling good but I suffered more than usual with the accelerations. When I got to the front, Jon Odriozola (the team manager) told me: ‘Attack with all you got and go to the finish!’ I listened to him and I opened a nice gap. I gave my all the whole time, pushing to be as fast as possible, finding strength I didn’t know I had. I wasn’t thinking of the gap, I focused on myself. And I won! I don’t have words for this. We’ll have to toast with champagne tonight!”

Final K

Vuelta a España Stage 11 Result:
1. Mikel Iturria (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias in 4:36:44
2. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:06
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First
4. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. François Bidard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 0:09
7. Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:12
8. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Astana
10. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
11. Alexander Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
12. Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
13. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Dimension Data at 9:11
14. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH at 17:15
15. Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 18:35
16. Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
17. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma
18. Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
19. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
20. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma
21. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
22. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar
23. José Rojas (Spa) Movistar
24. Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar
25. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 11:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 41:00:48
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:52
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 2:11
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:00
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 3:05
6. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 4:59
7. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 5:42
8. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 5:49
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 6:07
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 6:25
11. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida at 8:44
12. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 8:52
13. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 10:07
14. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First
15. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 10:47
16. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 12:53
17. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 14:13
18. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 14:39
19. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First at 15:12
20. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 15:17
21. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 15:54
22. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 16:40
23. Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 17:36
24. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 18:16
25. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 19:03.

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