The fourth day of this year’s Itzulia Basque Country proved to be an attritional affair, as heavy rainfall throughout the stage created difficult riding conditions, resulting in several crashes amongst the bunch. A total of 163.3 kilometres separated the bunch from the morning’s start in Vitoria-Gasteiz to the day’s finish at Arrigorriaga, with the terrain looking ideal for the breakaway to take the spotlight for the most part. Though it took some time to establish, the break did eventually gain an advantage over the peloton, with Michael Storer placing himself amongst the initial seven rider move.
As the wet weather continued, the riders soon began to struggle with the slippery roads, Nicolas Roche being one who was unfortunate enough to come down during the day and subsequently abandoned. However, having been assessed at hospital, the Irishman has escaped any serious injuries.
With less than half the stage remaining, the peloton began to increase the tempo and soon swallowed up Storer and his fellow escapees. The final kilometres saw a group of four splinter from the head of the bunch, going on to contest the stage honours amongst themselves, before Marc Hirschi crossed the line to take an impressive fifth place after a tough day in the saddle.
Tomorrow’s stage is a 149.8km passage from Arrigorriaga to Arrate, featuring a total of seven classified climbs for the riders to tackle.