Ion Izagirre podiums in Basque country
At the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Ion Izagirre rebounded from a tough start, improving day by day, finishing the two last stages in 3rd and moving up to 3rd in the overall standings. At the Paris-Roubaix Classic the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLIN TEAM, however, the team missed out on its own expectations.
At the beginning of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Gorka Izagirre was the strongest rider of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TWAM, putting himself into 3rd in the overall standings after three stages. But in the individual time trial on the fourth day Gorka got outperformed by his brother Ion Izagirre: While the latter jumped from 15th to 10th in the overall standings, Gorka conceded two positions in the overall standings. The next day started with negative news as Vincenzo Nibali was forced to abandon the race due to a saddle sore. Mark Padun, on the other hand, made it into the group of the day, collecting plenty of points at the categorized climbs to get back into the best climber’s jersey at the end of the day. But things took an even better turn for the team as Ion Izagirre joined forces with Mikel Landa and attacked. As they caught up with the early attackers, the young Ukrainian managed to deliver some valuable support to Izagirre who finished the stage in 3rd, moving up to 3rd in the overall standings as well.
With an impressive number of eight categorized climbs and two Cat1 climbs on the final 40 kilometers, the last stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco was a last proper test for the riders. All the more so as the stage was raced in the rain and at a very fast pace, as the overnight leader Primoz Roglic had crashed right after the start. After having lost a lot of time the day before, Gorka Izagirre made it into the group of the day, but like most of his companions, he was caught before the final climb. Only one of the attackers managed to stay ahead of the overall contenders, with Ion Izagirre and Mikel Landa attacking one more time to shake up the overall standings, but Roglic proved to be too strong. He crossed the finish line in 3rd, thus cementing his 3rd place in the overall standings and scoring another podium result for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM in this spring campaign. Mark Padun, on the other hand, could not defend his lead in the best climber’s standings, losing the jersey and having to settle for 2nd in this classification.
After having shown a very active race at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the riders in red, gold and dark blue wanted to leave a mark at the famous Paris-Roubaix cobblestone Classic as well. As the designated captain of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, Heinrich Haussler had finished this iconic race in 6th two years ago. As for the first hour of racing, China’s Meiyin Wang tried to get into a lead group, but he missed out on the move that remained away for a long time. But things got even worse for the team as both Kristijan Koren and Ivan Cortina were forced to abandon due to crashes, and Borut Bozic suffered a flat in the middle of a cobblestone section, dropping out of contention. Thus Heinrich Haussler found himself on his own early own, fighting on bravely and keeping himself in the first large group of chasers for a long time. Haussler eventually crossed the finish line in Roubaix’s velodrome in 20th. Apart from him only Luka Pibernik and young Slovene David Per made it all the way to Roubaix, but the latter missed out on the time cut with about ten other riders.
VUELTA AL PAIS VASCO
STAGE 5: VITORIA - EIBAR, 164.7KM
1. OMAR FRAILE, ESP, IN 3:53.59 HOURS
2. PRIMOZ ROGLIC, SVN, ST
3. ION IZAGIRRE, ESP/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, ST
STAGE 6: EIBAR - ARRATE, 122.2KM
1. ENRIC MAS, ESP, IN 3:17.22 HOURS
2. MIKEL LANDA, ESP, + 0.18
3. ION IZAGIRRE, ESP/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, + 0.35
1. Primoz Roglic, SVN, in 20:53.47 hours
2. Mikel Landa, ESP, + 1.09
3. Ion Izagirre, ESP/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, + 1.42
1. Carlos Verona, ESP, 55 points
2. Mark Padun, UKR/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, 34
3. Thomas de Gendt, BEL, 32