Omar Fraile (Astana) won the 5th stage of the Itzulia Basque Country, out-sprinting a small group of favourites. 2nd place went to overall race leader, Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jon Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) claimed 3rd.
The 5th stage of the Itzulia Basque Country was the hardest of the week so far, with the the final 2 climbs of the 164km stage decimating the field. An early break of 13 riders made the stage that much harder, as LottoNL-Jumbo were forced to chase the strong group up the road until the climbs at the backend of the stage were reached.
Our African Team was focused on delivering Igor Anton to the foot of the climb which began with 35km to go. Steve Cummings did a good job to ensure our Basque climber was where he needed to be when the climb started but Movistar set a violent pace on the climb, blowing the main group to pieces. Roglic, Izagirre and Mikel Landa (Movistar) emerged as the strongest and began chasing down the remnants of the break on the final climb.
The trio were able to catch the break with Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-Scott), Mark Pudun (Bahrain-Merida), Jose Herrada (Cofidis) and Fraile then able to tag onto the leaders, creating a new leading group of 7-riders for the final 18km. Padun drove the group for his team leader, Izagirre, nullifying any further breakaway attempts. When it came to the final, Fraile had the best kick and won the stage comfortably in the end.
Anton, after being distanced on the climb, chased all the way to the finish in the 3rd main group on the road. Coming in 3’48” down on the stage winner, Anton dropped from 19th overall to 20th. Tomorrow’s final stage will see another exciting but tough stage, as Itzulia Basque Country concludes with a summit finish in Arrate.