Iturria’s day of glory

September 4 th 2019 - 17:54

Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias) took his first professional win with a brilliant ride to Urdax on stage 11 of La Vuelta 19. Only a few kilometres away from his home, the Basque rider featured in the 14-man breakaway that animated the day. He soloed away from his companions in the last 25 kilometres and a massive effort saw him hold on to a 6” lead on the line. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) safely rode to the finish inside the bunch, 18’35” behind the winner, to retain La Roja on the eve of a tricky stage to Bilbao.

Many riders in the bunch believe stage 11 is another one for the long range attackers and it leads to a hard battle for the breakaway. 11 riders jump ahead of the bunch after 9km: Jorge Arcas (Movistar Team), François Bidard (AG2R La Mondiale), Gorka Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data), Matteo Fabbro (Katusha Alpecin), Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias).

The early attackers are joined by Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) at km 17, and then by Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ) and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) at km 28. The peloton already trails by 6’40”. Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma set the pace in the bunch and the gap is up to 8’20” at the summit of the Col d’Osquich (km 77.2), where Angel Madrazo takes 3 KOM points.

Iturria's brilliant solo ride

The gap increases to 10 minutes in the second climb of the day, the Col d’Ispéguy (cat-2) and the leaders start attacking each other. Alex Aranburu and Gorka Izagirre open a gap in the last kilometre of the climb and keep pushing in the downhill. Lawson Craddock joins them ahead of the third climb of the day. The chasers trail by 25” and the gap to the bunch is up to 13’.

The battle keeps going in the final climb of the day but chasers get back. Mikel Iturria goes on the move with 25km to go. He opens a gap as high as 48” with 15km to go. His chasers get closer and closer… but Iturria hols on to a 6” margin on the finish line to claim his first victory as a professional rider. The bunch finishes with a delay of 18’35” and Primoz Roglic retains La Roja.

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