Ion Izaguirre took 7th place in today’s Queen Stage at País Vasco
Eibar, 7th April – Today’s Queen Stage started in sunny Bilbao and ended 139,8 km later on the mountain few km to Eibar. It was the hardest stage of PaÍs Vasco with the most climbs but BAHRAIN MERIDA team proved once again that a great teamwork brings good results. After this stage the team is in 1st place in team classification.
This years’ edition had a new finish – after the second climb over Izua pass, the stage finished with a climb on Usartza from Matxaria. The last climb has an average of 10% slope and before that riders already passed 5 climbs whit up to 6% slope. The climbers really had to show their strength and the last one was the climb that decided the stage.
The whole race was very tactical. Movistar, Cannondale, QuickStep and BAHRAIN MERIDA didn’t go for breakaways, so they wouldn’t lose too much energy for the hardest part of the race. After 20km 16 riders from 9 different teams went in a 1,3 min breakaway, but teams that finished in top 5 positions where not among them. All along the way crowds were cheering on riders, creating a great atmosphere with music and waving flags and making the race over the hills even more spectacular.
“Team did a good job today. At the beginning Yukiya pushed strong with Orica team. Later Brajkovič helped me to keep a good position for the beginning of the last climb. Through the last climb that decided the race my legs didn’t feel so good. The attack of Valverde was very strong and fast. I kept my own speed and I lost 15 sec,” said Ion Izaguirre right after the race and added: “Not everything is lost. Tomorrow we have Time Trial and we will try to win it and to achieve a good GC.”
“Performance of the team was good. I’ve done very good on the last climb, I felt good although it was a very steep climb, but for me that is not unusual and I like this kind of climbs,“ said satisfied Ondrej Cink.
Philippe Mauduit, sports director commented today’s race: “Our goal was to be always in the front of the bunch, because it was a very demanding, technical and hard stage and riders did as we planned. They did a great job. Unfortunately, Ion was missing a little bit of strength in the legs on the very final part, but he limited the damage and finished with only 15 sec difference.”
BAHRAIN MERIDA Team is currently in the 1st place in team classification, which proves that the team is doing a great job.
7th – Ion Izaguirre (0:03)
7th – Ion Izaguirre (0:15)
Photos : BettiniPhoto, MIWA Iijima, Press BAHRAIN MERIDA