Ion Izagirre 5th at the peak of Col de la Couillole and 7th in general classification
NICE – COL DE LA COUILLOLE – 177 km
Nice, France, March 11th – Ion Izagirre crossed the finish line Col De la Couillole as 5th, after one more great performance, of course with the support of the whole BAHRAIN MERIDA Team. Today’s result brought him 7th place in general classification.
Today’s mountain stage with incredible climbs in a sunny, warm day was a breathtaking event for the spectators. The race started in the beautiful centre of Nice and took the riders in direction of Col De la Couillole – the highest finish of Paris –Nice race ever.
The BAHRAIN MERIDA Team had one key goal from the beginning – to give everything they can and offer maximum support to Ion Izagirre for his upgrade in the general classification.
Like every day so far on Paris–Nice race, a breakaway happened very soon with 6 riders, that made a gap of 3 minutes and 40 seconds and later 5 minutes as their maximum. The bunch was following them, supported with the information from their sports directors and keeping close to catch them when needed. The positions changed after St. Martin, where the breakaway broke into two parts and regrouped again at the downhill. Pantano, Henao, Contador, Martin and Ion Izagirre were fighting to the last 5 km before the finish. Ion Izagirre tried to jump in front, but Richy Porte and Alberto Contador reacted immediately. In that moment Richy Porte also went ahead of Contador and the other three. At the end Ion finished 5th which brought him 7th place in general classification.
“It was a hard race but Paris-Nice is always hard,” commented exhausted Ion Izagirre right after the race. “I tried to make a breakaway 5 km before finish, but Porte and Contador reacted promptly, using their strength and experience.”
Philippe Mauduit, sports director, commented Ion’s performance: “Ion tried to go for the win, but we just have to except that the others were stronger today. We have to keep in mind that Ion had a crash and only two racing days after the crash, before he came here, so considering that, it was actually a really good performance. Tomorrow, in the final stage, the team will help him as much as they can, to get a good GC position. Ion too has a good spirit and he wants to do the best he can. So we will see what tomorrow’s last stage will bring.”
(All pictures attached can be used for editorial and non commercial usages only and are copyright protected – © Team Bahrain-Merida/ @BettiniPhoto / Miwa IIJIMA)