Two podium results in the Basque Country

Within 24 hours riders of Team Bahrain Victorious scored to podium results in the Basque Country. Matej Mohoric was one of the most active riders in the finale of Saturday’s Klasikoa San Sebastian and finished the race in 2nd. One day later Santiago Buitrago finished the Circuito Getxo one-day race in 3rd place.

While the main sports headlines may be written at Tokyo’s Olympic games for the moment, two equally traditional and demanding one-day races were held in the Basque Country this weekend with the Klasikoa San Sebastian and the Circuito Getxo. Team Bahrain Victorious sent a strong line-up to these two races: After crashing out of the Giro d’Italia and a break of two and a half months, Mikel Landa returned to racing with the goal to work on his form for the upcoming Vuelta a España. The riders most likely to ride for results were Matej Mohoric, Mark Padun and Santiago Buitrago. Riding in their support were the likes of Kevin Inkelaar, Domen Novak and Stevie Williams.

As for the Klasikoa the riders were not only facing a series of steep climbs but also some seriously foul weather: Rain and wind drained the riders of their strength and made the narrow and twisting roads in the Basque Country even more treacherous. At first a large breakaway of 16 riders took charge of things. When Mikel Landa decided to test his legs on the Erlaitz climb, he did not get away but the acceleration was enough to bring back all early attackers. On the next descent Matej Mohoric attacked on the wet roads, and only three riders managed to stay on the wheel of Team Bahrain Victorious's Slovenian national champion. After a serious scare in a tight bend on the last descent, four riders were left to compete for the win, and Matej Mohoric was only beaten by Neilson Powless.

One day later the riders were greeted by sunshine and ideal temperatures at the Circuito Getxo race. These conditions made for animated race. With about 60 kilometers to go, it was Matej Mohoric again representing the colours of Team Bahrain Victorious in a large breakaway. Further back Santiago Buitrago did some exemplary team work by marking a counter attack. From there, the breakaway fell apart, and with 21 kilometers to go Matej Mohoric and Matteo Trentin were the last riders to be caught by a first group of chasers. On the slopes of the Pike Bidea as the last climb of the day, Santiago Buitrago was the only rider capable of following an attack by Abner Gonzalez. On the way to the finish this duo got company by a handful of riders, and in the end the uphill sprint for the win was contested by four riders, with Santiago Buitrago finishing in 3rd. For his attacking performance, Matej Mohoric was awarded with the price for the most active rider.

For some of the riders there is not a lot of time to recover as Team Bahrain Victorious will be competing at the Vuelta a Burgos that starts on Tuesday. This stage race serves up two sprint finishes, two mountain stages and a transitional stage. The team's line-up includes Damiano Caruso, Mark Padun and Mikel Landa as protected riders. These three can rely on the support of Yukiya Arashiro, Kevin Inkelaar, Domen Novak and Stevie Williams. The riders in red and black are likely to animate the five-day race in their quest for success.

1. Neilson Powless, USA, in 5:34.31 hours
3. Mikkel Frølich Honoré, DEN, st

1. Giacomo Nizzolo, ITA, in 4:12.24 hours
2. Giovanni Aleotti, ITA, st
3. Santiago Buitrago, COL/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, st