Emanuel Buchmann (BORA – hansgrohe) dominated the queen stage of the Tour of the Basque Country having finished over a minute clear of his nearest rivals. The German rider now leads the general classification.
The queen stage of the Tour of the Basque Country consisted of 150 km from Arrigorriaga to the iconic pilgrimage church of Arrate, which today served as a finish town for the ninth time in a row. On the first half of the stage, the riders faced four third category ascents, before taking on the first category climb to Izua 40 km from the finish. With 2 kilometres remaining, the course went uphill again, this time featuring a first category climb, the Alto Usartza.
Numerous attacks and changes at the head of the race were seen in the first 100 km of racing, before Gregor Mühlberger and Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) were able to put some distance between themselves and the field.
The duo was pursued by a group which included Carlos Quintero (Manzana Postobon), Gorka Izagirre (Astana) Enric Mas (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).
On the brutal climb to Izua, Mühlberger wasn’t able to keep up and had to fall back. However, a little while later, Emanuel Buchmann was able to make the jump into a small leading group, and from there, he attacked at the foot of the next climb.
Several riders took up the chase behind him, but were unable to bridge across to him. Buchmann stayed clear to take the stage victory, and the overall lead in the general classification. Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team) was second across the line 1′ 08″ down with Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in third.
Izagirre is now second overall, 54″ down and Buchmann’s team mate Max Schachmann crossed the line in ninth position, and now sits in third overall.
Emanuel Buchmann – “It’s unbelievable to win the queen stage of the race, and also to take the lead in the general classification. I hope to be able to defend the yellow jersey tomorrow. I am optimistic, because we have a very strong team here. Every day, we try our best to win, and we’ll also try the same on tomorrow’s stage.”