Vuelta a España 2019 Stage 11 Highlights: Saint Palais – Urdax | GCN Racing

Vuelta a España 2019 Stage 11 Highlights: Saint Palais – Urdax | GCN Racing

Welcome back to GCN Racing. Today we went through the half way point of
the Vuelta a Espana, on stage 11. Yesterday, Primoz Roglic blitzed around the
36km time trial course in Pau, putting 26 seconds into his nearest challenger on the
day, Paddy Bevin of CCC, and at least a minute into every single one of his GC rivals. He is now in the red jersey for the first
time, and has a commanding lead of almost 2 minutes over Alejandro Valverde. Here’s your top 10, Miguel Angel Lopez now
in third at 2:11, whilst Quintan tumbled from 1st to 4th, and has a lot of ground to make
up. Today, it was a hilly but not mountainous
180kms which started from Saint Palais in France, before crossing the border and finishing
in Urdax back in Spain. Rolling, hilly, but certainly not mountainous,
in theory this one should be for a breakaway and a relatively quiet day for the general
classification riders.>It took a while for the break to go this morning,
but after 15kms we had a group of 14 out front. Best placed on GC was Ben O’connor of Team
Dimension Data, but he was no threat to Roglic or Jumbo Visma, starting the day over 37 minutes
down. The biggest names up there were Gorka Izaguirre
of Astana, Remi Cavagna of Deceuninck Quickstep, Damian Howsen of Mitchelton Scott, and Lawson
Craddock of EF Education First. Caja Rural were the only team with 2 riders
there, in the form of Aranburu and Lastra. The biggest climb of the day, the Col d’Isbeguy,
came with 60kms to go, and it proved to be a launch pad for the first attacks out of
the breakaway, Izaguirre looking to use his climbing prowess to make the difference, Aranburu
going with him. That increase in pace was enough to distance
the KOM leader Angel Madraxo of Burgos BH. Over the top of the climb it was ARanburu
who took the maximum 5 points, the duo going over the top with just a handful of seconds
over the remainder of the breakaway. Somewhat surprisingly, O’Connor was also
amongst those in difficulty by the top. A warp speed descent saw Izaguirre and Aranburu
increase their advantage over the bulk of the breakaway, but as you can see here they
were being chased by Craddock, who’d eventually catch them. They’d later be joined by Howsen and Ghebreigzabhier
of Dimension Data, but soon after, as they approached the final categorised climb of
the day, most of the break were back together. Howsen was on the move again over the top,
but there really was very little to separate the riders in the breakaway, who spent much
of the following kilometres continually attacking each other. And that was the way it would continue, well
into the last 30kms of the stage. With no threat in the break, Jumbo Visma could
afford to be reasonably relaxed today, allowing the gap to rise steadily, and up to over a
quarter of an hour as the break approached the 25km to go marker. A big move came soon after, Mikel Iturria
of the Euskadi Basque Country Murias team. If you don’t know much about him, don’t
worry, I didn’t either. He’s 27, from Urnieta, just an hour from
today’s stage finish, and he’s never won a professional bike race.>
Iturria was looking brilliant up front, plugging away and steadily increasing his advantage,
which was up to 39 seconds over the rest of the break with just 14kms remaining, enough
for alarm bells to start ringing behind. Remi Cavagna, 3rd in yesterday’s TT, had
an untimely puncture in the latter stages, but he’d not only get back on, but sweep
straight past the rest of the group in pursuit of Aranburu, who’d also gone on the counter
attack. Those attacks saw the gap come down by 25
seconds in the space of just 4kms, and it looked like Iturria’s dream was about to
be shattered. It wasn’t quite over for him yet, though,
in fact the gap even increase slightly over the top of one of the uncategorised climbs. And it was another of those little drags which
saw the legs of Cavagna explode – not a surprised given the efforts he’d already had to put
in both yesterday and today. With 8kms to go, there was still everything
to play for, and still attack after attack behind our lone leader. 5kms to go, and his gap still held steady
at 13 seconds, but the pursuers now had him in their sights. And by 1,6kms to go, the catch was almost
made. Howsen and Ghebreigzabhier just a few metres
clear of the rest and closing in on the leader. But would they be able to close it. A nervous look over his shoulder inside 1km
to go told Iturria that he still had a chance here, and with the road starting to go ever
so slightly downhill, it made his chances even better. A closer finish to a stage you rarely get
to see, Iturria’s legs must have been on fire at this point, but from somewhere, he
found the strength and energy to push hard all the way to the line, and he’d done it. What a way to take your first ever pro win,
in your home tour, in the place where you live. Chapeau Mikel – that is something that you
are never going to forget, impressive stuff! Behind, it was a disappointed Lastra who would
finish in the runner up spot, but the day belonged to this man, who was swamped by the
press after the finish line. He will be a very popular man in the Basque
country this evening, and for a good time to come for that matter. 6 seconds was his advante in the end over
the rest. Craddock taking 3rd, Howsen 4th and Bidard
5th. The riders from the Pro Continental teams
showing the Worldtour riders how it’s done today. We had some wait before the peloton eventually
crawled across the line, 18.5 minutes behind the winner. Primoz Roglic safely in their and still topping
the general classification. Which looks like this: exactly the same as
this morning in fact. Tomorrow, once again, should be for the breakaway. 171.4kms to Bilbao on rolling terrain, with
4 3rd category climbs, three of which come in the final quarter of the stage. The last one, the Alto de Arriaz, is a wall,
with gradients of up to 20% on it’s 2.4km ramps. My prediction is Tao Geoghehan Hart. See you tomorrow.

38 Replies to “Vuelta a España 2019 Stage 11 Highlights: Saint Palais – Urdax | GCN Racing”

  1. Nice win. Thx, GCN.
    You guys made me hop on a (new) bike after more than 20 years and – after some proper training – commute on it! At 54 and 116 kg, this is huge. (Made plans for an “epic” vacation too, starting next week)

  2. He'll get popped in 5 months. You don't come out of nowhere, at 27, to win your first professional race in la Vuelta. Smart money is on EPO.

  3. 0:21 – Are you allowed to follow another rider's slipstream once you are caught? Does Lopez risk a penalty for following Roglic?

  4. His legs must be on fire at this point…really love this one.
    gameplan for today; rollin in nice and smooth for 150k with some guys and then continue timetrail like yesterday for another 25k by burning my legs to hell…this plan was just to crazy to fail…..amazing win…. congrats

  5. So awesome how he looks over his shoulder like 4 times approaching the finish line. He really couldn't belive it was going to happen.

  6. "He has never won a bike race" is one of my favorite phrases to hear. Such an exciting stage and I was happy for him to win his first pro bike race in such a thrilling finish at the Vuelta!

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