Iturria goes solo for stunning Vuelta triumph

By Sports Desk September 04, 2019

Mikel Iturria produced the ride of his life to secure a first Grand Tour stage victory at the Vuelta a Espana with an incredible solo effort.

The Basque rider attacked alone with 25 kilometres remaining and sensationally held off the chasing pack to win by six seconds on Wednesday.

Iturria had been part of a 14-strong break in the first hour of the day's ride and then attacked again on his own with impeccable timing to build a healthy advantage.

The rest of the break failed to organise themselves to respond and, although the gap gradually narrowed, they could not reel in Iturria.

Jonathan Lastra did more than most to track Iturria and was at least rewarded with second place.

The general classification standings remained unchanged, with the peloton 18 minutes and 35 seconds back on Iturria as Primoz Roglic retained his lead.


ITURRIA FEARED FINAL SPRINT

Having showed incredible endurance to build and protect a lead, Iturria worried it was all over when the chasing riders had him in their sights late on.

The stage winner acknowledged he would have struggled in a sprint for the line and had to restore his advantage.

"When I went, I pretended to be dead. Then I gave it my all," he said. "At two kilometres to the finish, I saw I had a gap but then they threw themselves at me.

"I didn't look back very much because, even when I'm fresh, I'm slow in the sprint, and in that situation, I wouldn't have had any chance."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Mikel Iturria (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias) 4:36:44
2. Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) +00:06
3. Lawson Craddock (EF Education First) +00:06
4. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott) +00:06
5. Francois Bidard (AG2R La Mondiale) +00:06

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 41:00:48
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +01:52
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +02:11

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 89
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 70
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 61

King of the Mountains

1. Angel Madrazo (Burgos BH) 32
2. Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-La Mondiale) 21
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 18

WHAT'S NEXT?

The 171.4km ride from Circuito de Navarra to Bilbao has a punishing conclusion that could disrupt some riders, with three of the four category three climbs coming in the final 40km to test tiring legs.

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