Latest News from the Race
Jonas Vingegaard seals Itzulia Basque Country title with rampaging third stage winDefending Tour de France champion lays down a major marker for July
As it happened: Itzulia Basque Country final stageAll the action from the short and explosive final stage in Eibar
Itzulia Basque Country: Sergio Higuita wins stage 5 with perfect sprintVingegaard retains race lead after another hilly stage
|Date||April 3-8, 2023|
|Previous edition||2022 Itzulia Basque Country|
Stage 1: Ethan Hayter won the opening stage from a reduced bunch sprint and took the first leader's jersey.
Stage 2: Ide Schelling claims a dramatic downhill victory after hair-raising descent on way to Leitza finish line
Stage 3: Jonas Vingegaard moves into race lead after taking victory on brutally steep Amasa-Villabona finish
Stage 4: Vingegaard makes it two in a row on stage 4 and extends his overall lead over Landa
Stage 5: Sergio Higuita wins stage 5 with a perfect sprint on another hilly day before finale
Stage 6: Jonas Vingegaard tamed a potentially treacherous final day of Itzulia Basque Country, sealing the overall title with a long-range solo stage victory
The 62nd edition of Itzulia Basque Country provides six days of tough hills and endless climbing for the WorldTour peloton from April 3-8, 2023.
The race began in 1924 when it was known as the GP Excelsior, with early winners including Francis Pellissier, 1929 Tour de France winner Maurice De Waele, and, in 1935, Gino Bartali.
In 1936, the race shut down seemingly for good due to the Spanish Civil War. Despite Francisco Franco's oppressive reign though, there were several attempts to resume the race in Bilbao and San Sebastián, none of which took hold.
In the 1950s, it was resurrected as a race in Eibar, which became the Eibarko Bizikleta, later the Euskal Bizikleta, and then the Tour of the Basque Country in 1969.
Jacques Anquetil, Luis Ocaña (twice), Sean Kelly (three times), and record four-time winner José Antonio González Linares were among the winners in the 18 years before the race split apart again, with the Euskal Bizikleta going solo in until re-merging with the Tour of the Basque Country after the global financial crisis of 2008.
In the meantime, Tony Rominger dominated the race in the early 1990s, while Iban Mayo, Denis Menchov and Danilo Di Luca were among the notable victors of the 2000s. UCI regulations introduced in 2006 heralded the end of the split-stage format – one road stage, one time trial – which had been part of the race since 1969, substituted by the six-day structure that exists today.
Race organisers rejected a buyout proposal from Vuelta a España organisers Unipublic shortly after the 2008 financial crisis, while the Euskal Bizikleta merger brought aboard the Alto de Arrate climb in 2009, forming the race we know today.
In 2012, financial problems reappeared as the local government backers ran into trouble, with the race at serious risk of stopping altogether. However, a combination of fund-raising channels – including from fans, and sponsorship from Banco Sabadell Guipuzcoano – saved it.
Four years later, Alberto Contador won his fourth edition of the race, equalling José Antonio González Linares record in one of the final victories of his storied career. Primož Roglič's win in 2021 was his second, his final day comeback adding another strand of history to the famed Arrate.
Last year, another Arrate GC turnaround saw Dani Martínez (Ineos Grenadiers) wrest victory from Remco Evenepoel and take the second overall stage race title of his career.
Itzulia Basque Country route
Vitoria-Gasteiz hosts the race start for the first time in its history this year, kicking off six tough days in the hills of the Basque Country on the road to the short sharp queen stage in Eibar.
Along the way, 26 classified climbs, including the hills of Salidas, La Asturiana, Krabelin, and Izua, will provide the main challenges of the race, which features precious few flat kilometres along its route.
There's no time trial this year, and the famous climb of the Arrate isn't on the route either. Instead, expect the big differences to be made on the downhill finishes of stage 2 in Leitza and stage 4 in Santurtzi, as well as the sharp uphill finish of stage 3 in Villabona.
The finale in Eibar, meanwhile, packs seven climbs – including two first-category hills – into just 137.8km, where the 2023 race winner will be crowned with a traditional Basque txapela (beret).
Check out a full rundown of the 2023 Itzulia Basque Country route at our dedicated route page.
Itzulia Basque Country start list
Data powered by FirstCycling
Itzulia Basque Country schedule
|Monday, April 3||Stage 1||Vitoria-Gasteiz - Labastida||165.4km||12:59 - 17:29|
|Tuesday, April 4||Stage 2||Viana - Leitza||193.8km||12:29 - 17:30|
|Wednesday, April 5||Stage 3||Errenteria - Amasa-Villabona||153.9km||13:04 - 17:29|
|Thursday, April 6||Stage 4||Santurtzi - Santurtzi||175.7km||12:53 - 17:30|
|Friday, April 7||Stage 5||Amorebieta - Amorebieta||165.9km||13:06 - 17:29|
|Saturday, April 8||Stage 6||Eibar - Eibar||137.8km||13:50 - 17:30|
Itzulia Basque Country teams
- Ineos Grenadiers
- AG2R Citroën
- Astana Qazaqstan
- Team DSM
- EF Education-EasyPost
- Bahrain Victorious
- UAE Team Emirates
- Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
- Kern Pharma
Itzulia Basque Country 2023
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