Itzulia 5: Euskadi Spring (and Landa)

Embedded image permalinkIt's a splendid time in Euskadi: sunny, blooming, smelling of flowers and desire
After 50 km of racing there is a large break-away: 31 riders including Pires, Sorensen, Dennis, Visctoni, Anton, Betancur, Montaguti, Cherel, Impey, Reichenbach, Van der Lijke, Landa, Agnoli, Taaramae, Gallopin, Vervaeke, Wellens, T Martin, De la Cruz, Bono, Conti, Slagter, Danielson, Arredondo, Didier, Fraile, Monlina, Txurruka, Bagot and Hardy.
At the top of the 1st cat climb, 75 km to go, they have  3'38.
I don't like at all what I see when I turn my streaming on: an horrible crash by Oliver Zaugg, he's on the ground and not moving. A long time passes before we are told that he's on his way to the hospital in Donostia, conscious. 
Also Westra abandoned but he's fine: just saving energy for Roubaix.
55 km to go the break has got 3'45 and is aproaching Alto de Aia, twice on the menu today. No threat to the GC so Team Sky isn't chasing.
Omar Fraile is in Mountain Jersey and detrmined to keep it: he's collecting all KOM points indead! nobody contest.
Embedded image permalink40 km to go Gilber gets off the peloton trying to bridge to the break-away that's now just 2' ahead but it wasn't to be.
28 km to go Frank Schleck and Bauke Mollema went straight on the barriers and crash. DAMN! Back on bike but not looking good especially when you have to fight for the overall victory in such a hard finish!
Embedded image permalinkSo Mollema is coming back escorted by team mate Bob Jungels while Frank Schleck... I can't spot him. 1 km and Mollema is back to the peloton! amazing effort and great job by Jungels.
20 km to go Taaramae attacks. This climb is 28% ! He reaches the top with a slight gap. Riders are giving it all on that ramp. What a crazy climbing!
The peloton explodes in the descent. Who can try to go away. Kwiawtosky attacks with team mate Tony Martin and they got a gap. Ahead there 4 riders joined Taaramae, they are Danielson, Landa, Tim Wellens and Tony Gallopin.
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Second time up the Aia, 8 km to go. The Ettixx duo quickly join the rest of the break-away.
In front Landa forces the pace and Gallopin gets dropped. Descent again! and again up the ramp! Landa attacks again and Taaramae can't follow. Simon Yates attacks fron the peloton. Danielson leads the leaders. Riders all over the road. Landa attacks and nobody can't respond. Landa takes a superb victory.
Embedded image permalinkBehind Arredondo attacks and cross the line solo, in the peloton Henao resists, keeps the jersey, puts a big distance between him and Quintana. Mollema finishes 2'24'' behind.

Mikel Landa:
"It's a team victory, without Agnoli and Taaramäe I would not have won"

Simon Yates:
“It started yesterday on the final climb. I was always reacting to the favourites and I was letting them dictate the pace but in the end I was still with them.
When a climb is as steep as it was today it doesn’t matter where you are in the bunch, tenth or first, you are going as fast as you can.
So that was the plan going into today’s stage - to go in, have a go and put it out there. If it wasn’t good enough then no worries, but I would know I went up there as fast as I could.
I’m mindful that I could lose some time. The way the time trial course is, with the same climbs as today, it does go into my favour a little but it’s still one of my weaknesses unfortunately.
I expect to lose some time but hopefully I can limit it as much as possible.”

Alexis Vuillermoz:
"Days passe and they are not all the same in Itzulia. My feeling was better and stomachache is over. I managed a good finale but unfortunately we cound't catch the break-away, I finished 10 in the stage and 15 in the GC".

Nick van der Lijke:
“I’m pretty exhausted, it was tough. But it was worth it.
Embedded image permalinkI already wanted to try and get into a break this week before the race started. I really wanted it, so for me it was all or nothing today. I took the risk, knowing that I could be in trouble if I was caught.
I tried a number of times and just before the first climb, I succeeded with several others. Fifteen riders bridged later on. After the fourth climb, the pace of the group simply became too high for me.”
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Mollema :(

Bauke Mollema:
“In one of the descents, we were going down at 60km an hour, when the rider in front of me suddenly braked. I was really close and I didn’t expect him to hit the brakes because the road was totally straight. I touched his wheel and the next thing I know, I’m on the ground. Unfortunately I took Fränk with me also, but I’m very happy to see he seems okay.
It’s never nice to crash of course, but hey that’s cycling. Right now I’m really disappointed because I was still fighting for the first positions in the GC and I had a really good feeling today also. And then you lose it because of a stupid crash!
Afterwards  I spent a lot of energy to come back first and yeah, after a crash like this, you’re just not the same anymore.
Now, first of all I have to recover well for the classics next week. We do not want to take any risks for that, so I will concentrate on a –hopefully- speedy recovery!”.

UPDATE about Oliver Zaug:
Team Tinkoff-Saxo:
"Unfortunately, Oliver Zaugg crashed hard during a fast descent on the stage. He was brought to the hospital in San Sebastián, where the scans revealed no internal injuries or fractures. 
He is fully conscious but he has incurred skin wounds on his face, left shoulder as well as both elbows and knees. 
As a precaution, he will remain under observation in the hospital for the next 24 hours."

1 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 4:06:01
2 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:03
3 Thomas Danielson (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:16
4 Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:38
6 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:53
7 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:56
8 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
9 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:05
10 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:06
11 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:08
12 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
13 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
14 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:11
15 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:01:14
16 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
17 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
18 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
19 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:22  
20 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo  
21 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:26
22 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team 0:01:37
23 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:44
24 David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:51  
25 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:58
26 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:07
27 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:11
28 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida 0:02:18
29 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:02:24
30 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:02:29
1 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky 21:20:48
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
3 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:07
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:12
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:22
6 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:28
8 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:36
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
11 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:42 12 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:00:44
13 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:56
14 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:00
15 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:25  
16 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:28  
17 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:59 18 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team 0:02:26
19 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:32
20 David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky 0:03:19

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