Basque Country: Stage 2

Alex Aranburu scored the first WorldTour win of his career with a solo win on home soil on stage 2 of the Tour of the Basque Country. Primoz Roglic continues to lead overall, Adam Yates 5th on GC

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Basque Country: Stage 2

Alex Aranburu scored the first WorldTour win of his career in spectacular fashion with the Basque rider attacking to win solo on home soil on stage 2 of Itzulia Basque Country. Primoz Roglic continues to lead overall, Adam Yates 5th on GC.

Aranburu’s Teammate Omar Fraile won the sprint for second place behind Aranburu to make it an impressive first and second place on the stage for Astana – Premier Tech, the team’s first win of the 2021 season. Strong teamwork was instrumental to Aranburu’s win in Sestao with the Kazakh – Canadian team taking control of the race in the last 50 kilometres, setting the stage for Aranburu to seize the perfect opportunity to attack with 10 kilometres to go.

Aranburu: “We knew that there would be some movements on the final climb but the downhill was also very important. On the last part of the climb, Omar tried and when they counter attacked him, it was my turn to try. I could make a small gap and then I went full gas until the finish. It’s my first victory in a World Tour race. I started well this season but I hadn’t won any races yet. To win at home at Itzulia Basque Country is very special. The team had very good results this year but not a win yet so it’s always nice, even more if it is at home”.

“I try to be a better rider, year after year. This season I had more confidence and experience for the Classics, and yesterday I also did a good time trial. I’ll try to do my best and let’s see where it takes me. There are still a lot of hard stages to come. I have a good position on GC but we also have strong riders in the team to go for it. We’ll see day by day. I never thought about coming to Itzulia and fighting for GC but I feel good and I also felt good yesterday. Let’s see day by day and we’ll see where it takes us.”

After a decent time trial on stage one when he finished 30 seconds down on stage winner Primoz Roglic, Aranburu has moved up to second place on the General Classification, five seconds behind Roglic.

Primoz Roglic: “I’m happy that I still have the yellow jersey”, Roglic said. “It was a very tough stage. In the beginning some rain, cold and sometimes the roads were very slippery. The race was full throttle all day. On the final climb I felt good and attacked. I was in the lead with a good group, but unfortunately we got caught. I feel good and I am glad I can compete with the best again.”

Tadej Pogačar: “Today was a hard day on the bike. The conditions were tough so we focussed on keeping ourselves warm and keeping a good position in the bunch. We started the last climb in a good position and myself and McNulty tried to get away. In the end Hirschi put me in the right place for the sprint and we were able to take some bonus seconds on the line.”

Maximilian Schachmann: “I thought that we had a good chance today. However, the roads were wet and slippery and we were all taking precautions to avoid crashing. I was good on the downhill and attacked the group of favourites on the last longer climb. It wasn’t an insane pace but it was nevertheless hard, so I thought that I should just go for it. Ultimately, I lacked that little bit extra in the sprint, but the form is still clearly quite good.”


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