Report: Zappi Team at the Basque Country Tour

The ZAPPI Junior Racing team travelled to the Basque Country in Northern Spain last week to participate in the 23rd Edition of the prestigious Junior Tour of the Basque Country (Bizkaiko XXIII Itzulia).

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Report: Zappi Team at the Basque Country Tour
C/O Mariano Bajo Martin via Facebook, with permission)

The Zappi team had 7 riders in the race with two of our regular riders guesting for the Basque team “Beste Alde La Tostadora”, namely Mark Donovan and Harry Gillet. The ZAPPI team included Ben Healy, Jacques Sauvagnarges, Jake Wright, Lewis Hartley and Mason Hollyman.

The 4 day stage race comprised 5 tough stages suited to the climbers of the peloton with mountain finishes on stages 1 and 3. The final stage is an individual time trial on a rolling circuit over 11.9km. The total race distance was 332km at an average speed of 40.4kmph with approximately 15800 feet of climbing.

On stage 1 we had 5 riders finish in the top 20, with Ben Healy taking 2nd and doing so the Green Jersey, Mark Donovan in 4th place, and Jacques Sauvagnarges in 10th place. On stage 2 we had 4 riders finish in the lead peloton, with Mark Donovan highest placed in 5th. Following the stage, Ben Healy received the KOM jersey and Mason Hollyman was awarded the Young Riders Jersey.

On stage 3 (the queen stage with 5200 feet of ascent) we had 6 riders finish in the top 25, with Mark Donovan in 2nd, Ben Healy 10th, and Mason Hollyman 12th. On stage 4 we had 5 riders finish in the top 25, with Mark Donovan and Lewis Hartley both making it into the decisive break and finishing 2nd and 5th respectively and Mark also taking of the lead in the General Classification and receiving the Yellow Jersey!

In the individual time trial over 11.9km around Balmasedana, an exciting final stage unfolded and Ben Healy delivered an amazing ride on his adapted road bike (clip-on bars) to take the stage victory in a time of 18 minutes 56 seconds, which also gave Ben the overall lead on GC. Ben was awarded the Yellow Jersey (as overall race winner), the White Jersey (as best Young Rider) which was truly spectacular for a first-year rider. Previous editions of the race have been won by Iban Mayo, David Lopez, Mikel Landa, Benat Intxausti, Jonathan Castroviejo who all went on to ride World Tour!!

Not only that, the ZAPPI team held first place in the team classification from the end of stage 1 through to the end of the race, finishing almost 5 minutes faster than the next team and thereby demonstrating a high level of consistency across the stages and highlighting the strength in depth of the team. We finished the race with 1st (Ben), 13th (Jacques), 15th (Mason), 19th (Jake), and 20th (Lewis) with Mark Donovan finishing 4th and Harry Gillet in 85th for the Beste Alde La Tostadora team. A high quality field of just under 200 riders started the race travelling from the Basque, Spain, Columbia, Mexico, Romania, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Portugal, Argentina and the UK, but only 130 riders finished.

We would like to thank our hosts: SC Duranguesa, who provided all the support we needed to participate in the race. Without their help, this trip would not have been possible.

Results Summary…

Stage 1:
2 Ben Healy
4 Mark Donovan
10 Jacques Sauvagnarges
13 Jake Wright
16 Mason Hollyman
56 Lewis Hartley
63 Harry Gillet

Stage 2:
5 Mark Donovan
13 Jacques Sauvagnarges
21 Lewis Hartley
22 Ben Healy
39 Jake Wright
41 Mason Hollyman
105 Harry Gillet

Stage 3:
2 Mark Donovan
10 Ben Healy
12 Mason Hollyman
19 Jacques Sauvagnarges
20 Jake Wright
23 Lewis Hartley
81 Harry Gillet

Stage 4-1:
2 Mark Donovan
5 Lewis Hartley
12 Ben Healy
16 Mason Hollyman
22 Jacques Sauvagnarges
53 Jake Wright
62 Harry Gillet

Stage 4-2 (ITT):
1 Ben Healy
7 Jacques Sauvagnarges
8 Jake Wright
10 Mark Donovan
29 Lewis Hartley
48 Mason Hollyman
107 Harry Gillet

1 Ben Healy
4 Mark Donovan
13 Jacques Sauvagnarges
15 Mason Hollyman
19 Jake Wright
20 Lewis Hartley
85 Harry Gillet

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