Mikel Iturria of the Euskadi-Murias team kept five pursuers at bay to win Vuelta Stage 11 on home roads in Dantxarinea today to take a hugely popular home win on a day when the break fought for the win on a stage played out in the Basque Country either side of the Franco-Spanish border.
The 27-year-old had been part of a 14-man break today but had been dropped as the break split, a group of seven men forming at the front. With 25 kilometres remaining, however, he zipped past them and built a lead of 45 seconds.
That came tumbling down inside the final 10 kilometres however as a five-man chase group formed, including Jonathan Lastra of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, who would finish second, and EF Education First’s Lawson Craddock.
Iturria, who had never before won a professional race, had an advantage of just 10 seconds entering the last 5 kilometres of the 180-kilometre stage of Saint-Palais and looked destined to be caught.
But with the riders chasing him lacking cohesion and the Basque rider using his local knowledge to squeeze every possible advantage out of the twisting and undulating finale, he held on to win by 6 seconds.
The peloton rolled over the line around 18 minutes 30 seconds later, led by the Jumbo-Visma team of Primoz Roglic, who retains an overall lead of 1 minute 52 seconds from Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde – the first time in a week that the red jersey hasn’t changed hands.
Reaction to follow.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.