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Vuelta al País Vasco
« on: March 29, 2018, 08:30 »
Vuelta al País Vasco

On from Monday it's time for the 2018 Itzulia. The course looks a bit less hilly than usual, and surprisingly the time trial - now taking place midweek - is completely flat (yes, no hidden 10% climbs at all :D), but I kinda like it:







The first two stages are maybe a bit too similar, but they do give opportunities to create gaps, and even if a strong time trialist takes over the lead on stage 4, there's still a good chance to strike back on the two coming days.

The start list looks as good as usual with guys like Landa, Quintana, Nibali, Uran, Bardet, Yates, Alaphilippe, Kwiatkowski, Roglic, Zakarin and so on. Also Richie Porte plans to return from holiday by the look of it. The wildcards for the race went out to the three Spanish PCT outfits and Cofidis.
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #1 on: March 29, 2018, 08:44 »
    Gran Premio Miguel Induráin

    Saturday, March 31st

    Two days before the Itzulia, the week of Basque Cycling starts with the GP Miguel Indurain on Saturday.



    The following 17 teams are participating
    • #mitchelton Mitchelton Scott
    • #movistar Movistar
    • #katusha Katusha
    • #direct Direct Energie
    • #delko Delko Marseille
    • #cajarural Caja Rural
    • #burgos Burgos BH
    • #murias Euskadi Murias
    • #novonordisk Novo Nordisk
    • #rally Rally Cycling
    • #fundacion Fundación Euskadi
    • #polartec Polartec Kometa
    • #inteja Inteja Dominican
    • #interpro Interpro Stradalli
    • #boavista Radio P. Boavista
    • #lokosphinx Lokosphinks
    • #w52 W52 FC Porto
    #movistar Valverde seems to have decided to do GP Indurain and not the Ronde. So he'll be tough to beat I guess. Last year's winner #mitchelton Simon Yates will be around as well though, same as #katusha Simon Spilak (who won the race in 2013) and #inteja Paco Mancebo, final winner of the Trofeo Comunidad Foral de Navarra before it was renamed to Gran Premio Miguel Induráin. That was in 1998 :lol

    The race is live on Eurosport 2 on from 15:30 cest or so.
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  • Flo

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #2 on: March 29, 2018, 09:38 »
    Pan-flat TT :-x
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    LukasCPH

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #3 on: March 30, 2018, 12:13 »
    #inteja Paco Mancebo, final winner of the Trofeo Comunidad Foral de Navarra before it was renamed to Gran Premio Miguel Induráin. That was in 1998 :lol
    Woah. :o

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #4 on: March 30, 2018, 12:46 »
    Pan-flat TT :-x

    An almost 20km, pan flat ITT. :-x
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #5 on: April 03, 2018, 07:19 »
    the gaps created in the first stage were a bit bigger than expected, with only Alaphilippe able to keep up with Roglic (and the other way around)

    Initially Quintana was with them but then dropped like a stone. Landa nowhere, Little Richie 7 minutes behind.



    more of the same today, with this little beauty on the schedule ~7k before the finish:



    so "3.4k at 8.4% is a bit misleading.

    With Alaphilippe and Roglix being so dominant yesterday, there won't be many teams giving Quickstep a hand today though, I think. That could open up the chance for a breakaway group to succeed
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #6 on: April 03, 2018, 11:04 »
    Yeah, that was a surprise there, but it's the sort of thing we sometimes see with a tough Day 1. No boring sprint stage to kick off here and what a terrifying final descent that was.

    Suited Alaphilippe but a very nice result for Roggers, who must be hot favourite now even this early into the game.
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #7 on: April 03, 2018, 11:14 »
    seems like whoever fights it out for the win today, will find a nice little surprise with two bends to go :D

    https://twitter.com/LasterketaBurua/status/981110884457177088
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  • t-72

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #8 on: April 03, 2018, 20:10 »
    Really nice little stage, but they could have made the finish a little bit more interesting by doing some of the town streets instead of this back-garden variety. That doesn't subtract a lot from the total. If a prize for parcours design is handed out, this stage should be nominated.

    Nothin' new about the results really, that's why I write about the parcours.  :)

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #9 on: April 04, 2018, 21:05 »
    also today's stage turned out to be an interesting one, after a large breakaway group including #lotto de Gendt and #mitchelton Juul Jesen was brought back in sight by Astana and Sunweb, the #sky duo Kwiatkowski and de la Cruz attacked with 20k to go, followed by #cajarural Aranburu inside the final 2 or 3k. It came back together for a sprint, won by #bora McCarthy



    The result makes you wonder what Kwiatkowski could have done without spending so much energies earlier on. And good to see #uae Riabuchenko in the mix there
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #10 on: April 05, 2018, 12:08 »
    also today's stage turned out to be an interesting one, after a large breakaway group including #lotto de Gendt and #mitchelton Juul Jesen was brought back in sight by Astana and Sunweb, the #sky duo Kwiatkowski and de la Cruz attacked with 20k to go, followed by #cajarural Aranburu inside the final 2 or 3k. It came back together for a sprint, won by #bora McCarthy



    The result makes you wonder what Kwiatkowski could have done without spending so much energies earlier on. And good to see #uae Riabuchenko in the mix there

    Agree re Kwiatkowski: not sure he and De La Cruz had read the roadbook properly for that stage, but the Pole is looking very sharp ahead of the Ardennes.

    Would have expected more from Matthews in that sprint. Normally you would say he had so little competition there but apparently he got boxed in or didn't have the legs. McCarthy is quick but not so quick.
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #11 on: April 05, 2018, 12:42 »
    yeah, didn't have the legs I guess after going too deep the day before. But it's probably more about getting back in shape for the classics after the injury anyway - and I'd say he is on track to do so
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #12 on: April 06, 2018, 08:43 »
    #bmc Patrick Bevin let the the time trial most of the day yesterday, but in the end it went to Roglic



    He now also has quite a healthy gap in GC, but with two tough stages to come and the pretty poor team he has, it should be a fun weekend. And even if they can't drop Roglic, with 14 riders within 1 minute (and Alaphilippe ahead, who may very well struggle) it should be a very entertaining fight for the podium nonetheless.

    Today the climbs come pretty far away from the finish, but I think we will still see some fireworks.

    First we have the pretty tough Elosua climb with ~60k to go...



    ...and then the double ascent up to Azurki



    Here is also an interactive map/profile of the final ~40k (via @raffilpt):



    So the first part of the descent is pretty technical. The completely flat ~10k will make it difficult for late escapees to succeed of course, but who knows, there won't be many team mates left to chase I guess. Roglic needs to rely on Battaglin, de Tier and Powless
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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #13 on: April 07, 2018, 07:05 »
    great stage yesterday, it definitely turned out to be a good decision to move the time trial to the middle of the race :cool.

    Movistar (mainly in person of de la Parte) put the hammer down on the Elosua, isolating Roglic, and the Basque duo of Landa and Brother Ion attacked on the penultimate climb and bridged to their team mates Rojas & Padun from the early breakaway ahead. In the end they couldn't shake off Roglic, but if you come from 7th and 10th in gc and move on the podium in your home race there's not much to complain about I guess.

    #mitchelton Carlos Verona was the last to be caught from the early breakaway on the descent to Eibar while #astana Fraile initially was dropped by his compatriots relatively early, but he somehow managed to glue to Roglic wheel when the leader's group passed him on the last kilometers of the final climb and win the sprint in the end, celebrating his first win for his new team, on home soil.



    There was not much to celebrate for #bora Patrick Konrad though, dropping from 4th to 14th in gc after a mechanical on the climb, which apparently cost him a lot of time, with no team car but only Großschartner (more or less) in sight



    Also #bahrain Gorka Izagirre, #fdj Rudy Molard and #ag2r Romain Bardet dropped out of gc contention. #quickstep Alaphilippe was also struggling but managed to limit his losses with the help of team mate Enric Mas.

    Today we have the new Arrate climb to finish off the race with, which should be fun again. Roglic looks more or less safe to win the gc, but who knows, weather looks pretty sh*t, so maybe #katusha Simon Spilak can still make up his 22 minutes deficit :P
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  • t-72

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #14 on: April 07, 2018, 17:26 »
    Stage win for #quickstep Enric Maas from the break.



    Maas was free to go after Alaphilippe crumbled early on.
    Apropos Alaphilippe: Isn't it about time #quickstep realizes Alaphilippe is not a stage racer? It seems he just doesn't have the stage to stage restitution necessary for a GC win.

    Movistar did all they could, managed to get a 5 to 1 numerical superiority vs #jumbo on the 2 last climbs, and finally break Roglic on the last climb - too late. Roglic was very tired but kept it together somehow by not panicking . 



    That's chapeu beret for Roglic, congrats on his first GC win at WT level!  :cool

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  • Jamsque

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #15 on: April 07, 2018, 19:38 »
    This is your annual reminder of my ongoing campaign to re-name the ascent to Eibar-Arrate the 'Alto Samuel Sanchez' in honor of his hat-trick of victories on the climb in 2010, 2011 and 2012
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Vuelta al País Vasco
    « Reply #16 on: April 13, 2018, 18:00 »
    Apropos Alaphilippe: Isn't it about time #quickstep realizes Alaphilippe is not a stage racer? It seems he just doesn't have the stage to stage restitution necessary for a GC win.
    He'd have to move to some other team for that - #quickstep have about a gazillion one-day racers, so Alaphilippe is their best shot at a GC racer.
    ;)
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