Quinten Hermans wins disrupted sprint in Tour of the Basque Country with force majeure, Evenepoel sees competitor Roglic fall heavily

Quinten Hermans wins disrupted sprint in Tour of the Basque Country with force majeure, Evenepoel sees competitor Roglic fall heavily
Quinten Hermans wins disrupted sprint in Tour of the Basque Country with force majeure, Evenepoel sees competitor Roglic fall heavily
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In what was the longest stage of this Tour of the Basque Country, the riders were presented with six climbs, totaling more than 3,000 meters of altitude. The favorites could measure themselves for the first time, but with the last pass 18 kilometers from the finish, a large group could also sprint with a large group in the finish town of Altsasu.

Four riders certainly had no doubts and opted for the open water. Their names: Alan Jousseaume (TotalEnergies), James Fouché (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Eric Fagundez (Burgos-BH) and our compatriot Tom Paquot (Intermarché-Wanty). Their maximum lead was just under 5 minutes.

With the penultimate climb in sight, the peloton gradually increased the pace. Jousseaume, Fouché and Fagundez were so grateful for the effort. Paquot struggled a bit, but the Belgian was caught a few kilometers before the foot of the Olaberria (1.6 km at 7.5%).

Val Roglic

And then there was suddenly a commotion in the peloton, because Primoz Roglic had also fallen to the ground in a crash. The yellow jersey was groggy for a moment, but then jumped back on the bike. With a deficit of two minutes, the situation did not look rosy for the Slovenian, who seemed to escape with only a few injuries.

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Roglic was lucky, because there was no attack on the Olaberria. And because the pace at the front dropped considerably after the climb, he was eventually able to join up again. The BORA-hansgrohe leader could thank not only his teammates Sobrero and Buchmann, but also the entire peloton.

With the return of the yellow jersey, the race could now really get going. The Lizarrusti (6.4 km at 4.7%) offered the ideal backdrop for this. On the flanks of that final climb, Ineos Grenadiers and Visma-Lease a Bike dictated the pace. Remco Evenepoel was well hidden a little further away. An indication that he wouldn’t try anything today?

No fireworks

Because none of the top riders went, Louis Meintjes only accelerated about two kilometers from the top. And since none of the favorites moved, the South African from Intermarché-Wanty was able to round the top with a lead of 15 seconds. But Meintjes was apparently only concerned about the mountain points, because a little later he stopped his legs and let the peloton catch up.

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We headed to the finish in Altsasu with a large group. In the run-up to this, Remco Evenepoel showed up briefly. The Belgian champion won the intermediate sprint for bonus seconds from Isaac Del Toro and Jonas Vingegaard.

Immediately after that intermediate sprint, Marc Soler moused away. The Spaniard from UAE Team Emirates was accompanied by Gorka Izagirre and Nelson Oliveira. The trio gave it their all, but were called to order again with 4 kilometers to go.

Then the peloton was startled by a crash. Juan Ayuso and Carlos Rogriguez, among others, came into contact with the asphalt. In the disrupted sprint there was no limit to Quinten Hermans, who came out of the pack at the right time and was faster than Edoardo Zambanini and Alex Aranburu. Vito Braet was the second Belgian in ninth place.

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In the rankings, Primoz Roglic retains his yellow leader’s jersey. After winning the intermediate sprint, Remco Evenepoel is still 7 seconds behind the Slovenian. Mattias Skjelmose is third at 10 seconds. Juan Ayuso and Jonas Vingegaard follow in fourth and fifth places and are both 14 seconds behind.

The Tour of the Basque Country ends on Saturday in Eibar. On Thursday the riders will have a trip between Etxarri Aranatz and Legutio over 157.5 kilometers. In this hilly stage, the top of the fourth and final climb is nine kilometers from the finish.

Hermans: “The perfect finish for me”

“The team really did a fantastic job today,” said Quinten Hermans after the finish. “They believed I could finish today. I would like to thank them very much. I did the sprint but they put me in perfect position. Stan (Van Tricht, ed.) set me off well at 600 meters from the finish. Then I put myself in the wheel of Aranburu.”

After a late crash we had a disrupted sprint. “The sprint was indeed hectic,” said Hermans. “We suddenly turned to the right from a major road. For me it was the perfect finish, because it went up a bit at the end. That’s where I have the best final shot. If you are in the right wheel and have good legs, you can win like now.”

It was the third professional victory for the 28-year-old Hermans. His previous one was the Baloise Belgium Tour in June 2022, when he won the fourth stage.

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Quinten Hermans wins disrupted sprint Tour Basque Country force majeure Evenepoel sees competitor Roglic fall heavily

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