1st Stage of Pais Vasco went smooth as expected
Pamplona, 3rd April – First stage of Pais Vasco, with 153,27 km long track and two climbs went as expected for BAHRAIN MERIDA riders. Ion Izaguirre achieved a result to fight for a top position in general classification over the next days.
The 1st Stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco started in the capital city of Navarre at Plaza del Castillo, where each July bulls run through the square, which makes Pamplona a world famous place. Gorgeous sunny landscape surrounded riders the whole day, right to the finish in Egüés Valley. One of the strongest teams of the UCI World Tour’s calendar is based here – the Movistar Team, so it was expected that most spectators were wearing their colours. But many of them cheered and asked Purito for a photo while he was first time wearing jeans and not jersey at the start of the race. He is a staff of the team and helps BAHRAIN MERIDA riders with his experiences and knowledge.
The length of the track was 153,27 km. With few difficulties, riders climbed twice over Erro (Cat. 2) and Mezkiriz (Cat. 3), which is at 920 m above sea level. After the climbs, still 60 km to go, the bunch was compact and the same was before the finish line. Last 3 km in Eguesibar were very flat, the only point to pay attention was a 90 degrees’ bend 300 metres to finish line.
Sports director Philippe Mauduit commented after the race: “It was a classical sprinter’s stage. Most of the teams are focused on the general classification and on the climbing stages, which will come in 2 days. At the end, 6 km before the finish line, it got very technical and very difficult because the riders came from a very large road to a very narrow one. Ion had to be in front at that spot, to make sure there is no danger of crashes, which was the main goal for today. After that dangerous spot there was a big battle for the stage victory.
“For tomorrow we have the same strategy,” continued Mauduit. “We just have to save as much energy as we can and stay in the bunch to be strong at the end of the race. We have a good team for a hard race. Ion still has a chance for a good position in general classification because today they all arrived together to the finish, so at the moment he has the same time as the winner of the stage.”
Photo: MIWA Iijima and Press Team BAHRAIN MERIDA