Race report

No break for Team Sunweb in Itzulia

Itzulia Basque Country

The fifth stage of Itzulia Basque Country would see the rider’s face the Queen stage with a now traditional finish at Arrate. Although not a summit-finish as such, the last steep climb of the day crested with only a kilometre to go so the ascent would prove decisive in the outcome of the stage.

From the flag drop the pace was high as several teams tried to form the break of the day. Team Sunweb were ever present at the front of the race and involved in several of the ultimately fruitless attacks. The break eventually formed over the third climb of the day after almost 60 kilometres of racing. However, with the GC all to play for, the race continued to explode up front and the Team Sunweb rider’s paid for their earlier attacks and couldn’t follow at the head of the race. With the stage decided by the GC riders, Team Sunweb rolled home in the grupetto, with Chris Hamilton the first back for the team in 40th place.

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston explained today’s stage: “It was a pretty tough out there. The guys did a good job trying to get into the breakaway and we covered a lot of the moves. However, the break never really went and it became a GC fight at the front, with riders getting shelled out the back of the peloton. The guys ended up all coming home in the grupetto today and we will focus on trying to get into the break again tomorrow.”

Chris Hamilton added: “It was a hard day for everyone in the peloton. We started the day with the plan to get into the breakaway and the guys tried their best. Missing the move is no fault of anyone’s, as we were always prepared and ready to cover the attacks but that’s just the way the race panned out. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

The final stage tomorrow sees the rider’s take on a demanding day of climbing from Eibar to Eibar, and it is one that could potentially be a day for the break but it could well turn into another GC showdown.