Gorka 5th in the first stage of Pais Vasco
Zarautz, 2nd April 2018 – The Itzulia Basque Country begins with the 5th place of Gorka Izagirre on the Zarautz’s finish line at the end of a stage with a very lively final. The Spanish rider arrived with a 23” gap from the race winner – and first race leader – Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe.
Gorka said he’s satisfied with his debut: “I’m happy with my 5th place: it’s a good start. I suffered a bit the first day of heat and in the final part I did not find a great collaboration, except for Nairo Quintana, going downhill trying to catch the two riders ahead of us“.
His brother Ion and Vincenzo Nibali were also among the best. The Italian champion arrived from Flanders last night very late:”after the great effort of yesterday at the Ronde I have to say that my legs were spinning well but in the end I lacked a bit of strength to get back on the top. I was with Ion and we saw them but we missed a bit of brilliance to get them back “.
Sport director Gorazd Štangelj comments on the day: “It went as we expected. Two very explosive riders like Alaphilippe and Primoz Roglic took advantage on the last short climb and we lost a few seconds. Gorka has confirmed that he is doing well and this will be a race in which the ranking can change quickly every day “.
Tomorrow second stage from Zarautz to Bermeo (152km). Insidious route that in the last part will see the riders face the ascent of Sollube – 5.5km long, gradient maximum 17% – and with only 10km to go the challenging climb of San Pelayo, just over 3km but with an average gradient above 8%.
(Photo credits: Miwa Iijima, @iimiwa)