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Itzulia Basque Country stage 6 - Live coverage

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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the final stage of the Itzulia Basque Country race. 

As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, the riders are signing on and gathering for the start.

The stage rolls out in 15 minutes for the decisive 112km stage. 

The riders have been understandably warming up before the start. 

The decisive stage offers seven classified ascents in just 112 kilometres. 

These are the six nasty climbs the riders face today.

This is the Jumbo team that will try to set up Roglic for victory. He's racing in the green points jersey today. 

They're off! 

Today there are 3.9km of neutralised riding, then the 111.9km stage kicks off and the climbs start straight away.  

Our man on the ground in the Basque Country Alasdair Fotheringham has updated us on the weather. 

As Alasdair wrote after stage 5, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) has promised that he will give everything to defend the leader's jersey of the Itzulia Basque Country on Saturday's toughest mountain stage and the final ascent to the Alto de Arrate in what could be the biggest day of his professional career to date.

This is McNulty's first outing at Itzulia Basque Country. He did not do the Vuelta a España last year when the riders also tackled the Arrate, meaning he has never been up the region's most emblematic ascent.

Having a defending Tour de France champion in Pogačar in support is not something that happens every day, and McNulty recognised that.

The flag has dropped and we've seen immediate attacks on the short first climb.

Britain's Hugh Carthy is the first to try his hand but is chased down. 

Carlos Verona was the first to the top of the Arribinieta climb. Now it's time for the
Elkorrieta. It's 2.6km long at 6.3%.

This was Carthy's early attack.

First attack.

The trio have just 20 seconds, with Movistar leading the chase.

This shot of Carthy showed how Movistar lead the peloton.

The riders are now on the Azurki climb. 

It's interesting to see that Jumbo have sent Tolhoek in the attack.

He could be useful later but will have join forces with Roglic at the right moment.

And now they are 4! 

85km to go

Other riders are trying to go across to them. The race is on. 

They're back on to the main road but they will soon hit the Elosua-Gorla climb. 

Ben O'Connor (AG2R) is up front, as is Enric Mas (Movistar).

UAE have two riders on the front leading the chase. They are at 30 seconds. 

The peloton seems happy to let the break go clear. 

Up front are 7 riders.

The 7 attackers are: 

We spoke too soon about the peloton. Several riders are attack to try to get across to the attack. 

However the race is very fluid right now as the climb hurts.

Tolhoek is pushing on the attack as Mark Padun (Bahrain) and Carlos Verona (Movistar) get across.  

Marc Hirschi on the front of the peloton setting a fast pace to try to limit the counter attacks. 

There are still 4km to climb as more attacks go off the front of the peloton. 

Guillaume Martin has crossed the gap and others are trying their hand.

Sam Oomen is the next to kick off the front. 

Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck) tries too but the pace is high and the gap to the peloton is only 40 seconds. 

UAE have Ulissi and Majka riding to protect McNulty and Pogacar.

Hirschi marked a move across to the break. We now have 14 riders up front  but more attacks are coming on the descent. 

60km to go

Ben O'Connor was first over the climb and has joined Carapaz and Pat Bevin.

A group with Roglic is at 40 seconds and joining the remains of the break. 

The race is on a flat 15km section of road before he next big climb.

The attacks have forced Pogacar to hit the front and lead the chase.

UAE have called Hirsch back from the attack to help drag McNulty across to the Roglic group. 

Movistar are riding for Vlaverde, Bahrain for Landa.

The Roglic/Astana group has swept up the three attackers to create a 19-rider move. 

The race hits the Krabelin climb, one of the hardest climbs of the stage. It is only 5km long but has sectors at 17% and an average of 9.6%. 

Carthy is in the front group after dropping off our radar on the fast descent. 

McNulty has cracked! 

He's been distanced by Pogacar on a steep sector. 

Up front Roglic is riding to keep McNulty off the back and make Pogacar suffer as he tries to cross.  

The Roglic group is down to the six best climbers.

There are 2km of climbing left to go of the Krabelin.  The gradient eases now. 

Roglic's pace on the climb has shaken out Valverde and others. 

40km to go

Roglic is having to do most of the work on the flat road to make sure the trio of attackers stay away. 

Roglic seems to be time trialing away to overall victory. But he faces a lot more climbing, including the final steep Arrate climb. 

Roglic leads through an intermediate sprint and so takes 3 bonus seconds.  

Roglic's efforts have pushed the gap out to 1:00. 

Gaudu is also helping Roglic to boost his own GC position.

McNulty has timed trialed along the valley. He is at 1:40 but only 40 seconds down on teammate Pogacar. 

25km to go

Adam Yates drags the group back up to Valverde as other riders close the gap from behind.

The chase group is tired but they are more numerous than the Roglic, Gaudu and Carthy trio. 

This is a big ask for Roglic but if anyone can pull it off, he can. He has so often been on the other end of final stage attacks. 

The trio pass over the Trabakua climb. They all take on a bidon, a final drink before the descent and then climb up to the finish.

Here's Roglic when he blew the race apart. 

16km to go

Gaudu and Carthy are riding with Roglic. 

Behind Pogacar eases off the front and waves in desperation at the other riders in he group who refuse or are unable to help with the chase. 

Roglic accelerates to lead through the intermediate sprint and 3 bonus seconds.

Vingegaard is second on the virtual GC,  possibly giving Jumbo-Visma a 1-2 overall. 

The Roglic trio are about to start the final Arrate climb. It is officially called Usartza. 

Gaudu kicks off the attacks for the stage win.

Roglic joins him but Carthy has been distanced.

Incredibly and impressively, Pogacar is still going all out. He's spitting riders out of the group and the gap is down to 40 seconds. 

Carthy is swept up by the Pogacar group as Valverde attacks.  

The veteran is chased by Pogacar and jonas Vingegaard

Gaudu and Roglic ride together through the  screaming Basque fans. 

3km to go

Pogacar may be questioned about UAE's tactics but he is strong today.

1km to go.

Roglic eases to let Gaudu win the stage but Roglic wins the GC after a smash and grab ride.

They hug in a double celebration.

Wow, what a stage and what a finish.

Thanks to his huge effort, Roglic secured overall victory by 52 seconds.

His Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard, who marked Pogacar all the way to the finish was second overall, giving Jumbo-Visma a clean sweep of the different classifications.  

This is the top ten for the stage: 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
General classification after stage 6
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 19:11:36
2Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:52
3Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:07
4Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:26
5David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:27
6Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:28
7Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:33
8Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:02:17
9Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange 0:02:38
10Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:59

This is the final GC that will make Roglic happy.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
General classification after stage 6
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 19:11:36
2Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:52
3Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:07
4Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:26
5David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:27
6Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:28
7Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:33
8Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:02:17
9Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange 0:02:38
10Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:59

Gaudu and Groupama are very happy to win thew stage.

Both Gaudu and Roglic celebrated at the finish.

Valverde won the sprint for 3rd at 35 seconds.

Pogacar finished fifth to hold onto third overall.  

Gaudu and Roglic praised each other and celebrated their day of success. 

Sadly there was no cake for Britain's Hugh Carthy (EF), he made the final attack with Gaudu and Roglic but was distanced on the final climb to the finish.  

McNulty finished off the pace and alone.

Roglic rode a  smart race, perhaps knowing that McNulty would suffer on the steep Krabelin climb mid-stage. He also ride mart before that, going with the Astana/Movistar surge on the earlier descent to put UAE under pressure. 

To read our full stage report, see our growing photo gallery ands full results, click below. 

Thanks for joining us for full live coverage. Sadly there is no Paris-Roubaix on Sunday so our live coverage returns next week.  

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