INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Itzulia Basque Country

First World Tour podium for Quinten Hermans 


Despite a hilly profile, the first bunch race of Itzulia Basque Country (2.UWT) ended in a sprint this Tuesday and enabled Quinten Hermans to achieve his first podium in a World Tour event.

One day after the opening prologue, the longest stage of the event crossed the Navarra province in 207 kilometer. Immediately after the start in Leitza, an early breakaway of four Spanish riders was formed on the slopes of Uitzi (3,7km à 6,9%), the first of three categorized climbs.

Their advantage of four minutes melted on the Aguilar Gaina climb (12,7 km à 3,1%), so the four men were 2 minutes ahead of the peloton on the top, with 30 kilometer to go.

A peloton started the downhill towards Viana and caught the last survivor in sight of the slightly upward finish. At the end of his fifth race day of the season, Hermans took third place in the slipstream of winner Julian Alaphilippe thanks to a powerful effort. Thanks to the bonificatie seconds, he climbs into the top twenty of the provisional classification. 

My teammates did everything they could to help me today. We knew that the slightly uphill finish in Viana suited me. The final was exciting, but in the end the peloton timed well and we could sprint for the victory. Remco Evenepoel rode a very high pace in the final kilometers, so behind it was a real battle for the back wheel of Julian Alaphilippe. I managed to start my sprint a few positions behind him and to achieve my first podium in a World Tour event. A top three in this Tour of the Basque Country is a nice accomplishment, because this event is highly rated as there's always a good level of riders. I'm happy about my performance in the sprint and I will try to do the same in the next stages. Who knows, with a better positioning, doing better than this third place is conceivable.

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