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Live coverage

Tour of the Basque Country 2019: Stage 1


Good day and welcome to live coverage from stage 1 from Iztulia Basque Country 2019.


As Bobby Julich once said, although I think he lifted it from LL Cool J, "Don't call it a comeback". 

That's right, less than 24 hours after the Tour of Flanders, we're back and covering stage 1 of the Tour of Basque Country. A 11.3km individual time trial for the riders who have braved the wet conditions today.



It's a mostly flat course today but there's a sting in the tail roughly half way through. That should determine the winner of the race and the first leader's jersey. Riders started around 30 minutes ago but all the big hitters are either in the team buses or warming up. 

Omar Fraile of Astana is the latest rider to start his time trial but it's Enric Mas who is currently tearing things up at the moment. He's fastest at the intermediate checkpoint. Later on we've got the likes of Landa, Dan Martin, Geraint Thomas and Carlos Betancur to come. Exciting times. We'll be here throughout today's stage.


In fact Enric Mas has just set the fastest time of 17 ' 34.


A very good time for @OmarFraile, he is 6th provisional, +0.43 #Itzuila

@AstanaTeam Mon, 8th Apr 2019 13:17:05

10th provisional time for @LLEONSANCHEZ +0.57 from the best time #Itzuila

@AstanaTeam Mon, 8th Apr 2019 12:54:06

The rain continues to fall though on the riders out there and it's actually quite a technical little run in, along these slick paving slab. Mas handled it well and the soon to be out of contract Spaniard takes a seat... on the hotseat.


#Itzulia It’s a time of 17”56 for @lucashamilton8. The new fastest time is 17”34 set by Mas (DQS)

@MitcheltonSCOTT Mon, 8th Apr 2019 13:26:54

Diego Rosa and Ben King are among the riders who are about to start their time trials in the next few minutes. 


Meanwhile, as we wait for the GC contenders other than Mas, here's our conclusions from the Tour of Flanders


Back here and Lawson Craddock currently sits second on the stage, 10 seconds down on Mas.


Bibao is climbing the main ascent. He like most has gone for a full TT set-up which always looks ridiculous when you're riding at around 11kph. Further down the course a Katusha rider has to feather the brakes through a corner. He's on a road bike. At the top of the climb we see three riders crest the top at the same time. Road bike, TT bike, road bike. 


Right now Landa is warming up. Headphones in, probably listening to LL Cool J. Or Bobby Julich. We'll confirm that later.


McCarthy now churning away on the climb, out of the saddle and going over the top. He too is on a TT bike but he doesn't look to shabby. Mas still lead the stage from Craddock at 10 seconds as we see Betancur gracefully make his way up the climb. 


The rain in relentless as we see Rohan Dennis warming up on the rollers. He's the world time trial champion and I'd give him around a 90 per cent chance of victory today. He's not won a race this year but he looks in decent condition as we goes through the motions on the rollers.


Alberto Bettiol claimed the first victory of his career at this year’s Tour of Flanders and the second Monument of…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 8th Apr 2019 13:38:59

The climb is actually brutal and riders are crawling over the top before having to make this wet, I'd say dangerous descent, to the bottom. Petr Vakoc is about to start his time trial. Good luck Petr.


Edet comes to the top of the climb, almost 50 seconds down on Mas. Gorka Izagirre is about to start his time trial. 


The opening kilometres are totally flat but there are a number of tricky corners out there. Izagirre takes the first few without a hint of hesitation though.

A very good time for @OmarFraile, he is 6th provisional, +0.43 #Itzuila

@AstanaTeam Mon, 8th Apr 2019 13:17:05

Diego Rosa is motoring up the climb. The Italian has gone for his road bike set-up with aero helmet. That look is so in this season. 


We're well underway at #Itzulia in the opening TT, where @jcastroviejo is provisional sixth. The current time to…

@TeamSky Mon, 8th Apr 2019 13:45:00

Izagirre takes a few risks now but he's trying to put himself in the best possible position as he starts the 2.3km to climb. It kicks out at 21 per cent we see Rosa near the top. He's spinning along nicely as back at the start Geraint Thomas starts his warm-up.


At the top of the climb, however, Rosa is 35 seconds down on Mas.


George Bennett is another rider starting his warm-up as Izagirre takes another corner to the limit. Winner Anacona is on the main climb now.


Sergio Henao, now of UAE Team Emirates has started his time trial. 


Anacona is looking good but at the top of the climb he's 21 seconds down on Mas. Importantly, however, it looks as though the rain has stopped so the roads could be drying up for later in the stage.


At the finish, Mas still leads Craddock but we've a number of high-profile riders to come, including world champion Rohan Dennis.


Sixth on the line for Anacona. Mas still leads. 


Bilbao now into second, eight seconds down on Mas.


And as the roads begin to dry Dennis starts his time trial. He could face strong opposition from De La Cruz, who is out on the course right now. 


Thomas, he's still warming up as we see Dennis settle into his effort. He overcooks it ever so slightly on one corner but then gets back into position. He looks good so far. 



Bilbao 8 seconds

Craddock 10 seconds.



Adam Yates is eating a gel, while Dennis is 18 seconds down at the first time check, which comes before the climb.


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@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 8th Apr 2019 14:14:49

We've not talked about Konrad but he's going well on the climb and could trouble Mas. One rider who won't trouble the QuickStep rider is de la Cruz, who crosses the line in 15th place.

At the top of the climb Konrad is just two seconds down on Mas. The Bora rider can do this, given tat the roads are dryer than when Mas began is descent to the finish.


Konrad is another rider who has gone for the road bike/aero helmet ensemble. 


Dennis is still in the frame. He was just five seconds down at the second time check. 


And Konrad takes the lead by 5 seconds. Mas has been bumped down to second on the stage, with Bilbao in third.

No glory for Dennis. 12th, and 28 seconds down on the current leader. 


At the first check Thomas is nine seconds down on the lead. He's gone for the TT setup but now he takes a road bike at the foot of the climb. That looked planned.


Thomas doesn't appear to be going that well on the lower slopes. He lost around 8-10 seconds with the bike change, and that's a lot of time to make up over such a short distance.


Thomas has found a bit more speed as he approaches a flatter section of the climb. He's fourth at the second check.


Debut Tour of Flanders a day to remember for Matthews 'It was definitely as fun as I’d have hoped' says Sunweb spr…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 8th Apr 2019 14:35:02

Thomas is clawing his way back into contention with his ride on the climb. Nieve, on the other hand, is 36 seconds down at the summit.


.@EnricMasNicolau is second now, after his time was bettered by Patrick Konrad for a few seconds. #itzulia

@deceuninck_qst Mon, 8th Apr 2019 14:37:54

Geraint Thomas, or 'G' as you'd refer to him as, if you were one of his mates, teammates or a TV commentator who didn't know how to remain impartial, is on the descent of the climb. 


Meanwhile Bauke Mollema or 'M' if you like, has started his time trial.


Thomas comes over the line and cracks the top ten. 


Thomas moves into third, 11 seconds of the lead. So Konrad, with Mas at 5 seconds, and then Team Sky's Thomas. 



Here comes Schachmann and he's 19 seconds faster than Konrad. He comes over the line in 17;10, which is exceptional given the gap between him and the rest of the field. 


Bennett switches bikes on the climb, going for a road bike as the ascent starts to kick up. 


How things stand at the moment:


1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:17:10
2 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:19
3 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:24
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:30
5 Hugh John Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 0:00:31
6 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:32
7 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First 0:00:34
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:38
9 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:42
10 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:43


Further up the climb, and Mollema is struggling to keep the pedals going at the moment. Daniel Martinez though is about to start his time trial effort. 


Bennett loses his balance at the top of the climb. He couldn't keep the pedals turning and just takes a small tumble. He's quickly back on his feet, however and starts the descent. Schachmann though still has that massive lead at the finish. The stage is surely going his way.


Kwiatkowski starts his 11.3km time trial. 


The Oomen. He goes over the top of the climb 43 seconds down on the lead as we see Adam Yates during the early phases of his time trial. 


Just five more riders left in the start house but one of them is Milan-San Remo winner Julian Alaphilippe. 


Riders are certainly making use of the dry conditions as we see Daniel Martinez on the descent. The Paris-Nice stage winner is in full flow at the moment and an outside bet for the GC here. Yates, on the other hand, is rooted to the saddle as he makes his way up the climb.


Martinez comes over the line and moves into second, just nine seconds down on Schachmann. And now Yates comes over the top of the climb, less than ten seconds off the lead. The roads are drying up and that's making a significant difference.


Dan Martin comes over the line 35 seconds down. Top ten but the dry conditions certainly helped him.


Latest results:


1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:17:10
2 Daniel Martinez 0:00:09
3 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:19
4 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:24
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:30
6 Hugh John Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 0:00:31
7 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:32
8 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First 0:00:34
9 Dan Martin 0:00:35
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:38


Ruben Fernandez starts his TT, and he's the last rider to start the time trial. Can Schachmann hang on?


Probably, yes.


Ion Izagirre is around 20 seconds down at the first check. Kwiatowski comes over the line, 10 seconds down and third so far on the stage.


Yates was fourth, 16 seconds down at the finish.


Alaphilippe is on the climb as we see Buchmann take a bike change at the foot of the ascent. 


Izagirre and Alaphilippe on the descent and they're both just over 10 seconds down on Shachmann's time. The Frenchman should be able to pull back some of that time as he takes every possible risk.


Alaphilippe comes over the line 12 seconds down. 


Schachmann just as a few more minutes to wait before his stage win is confirmed. 


22 seconds down for Izagirre at the finish.


We still have a couple more riders to come home but the stage is heading to Bora. 


1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:17:10
2 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First 0:00:09
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:10
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:12
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:16
6 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:19
7 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:22
8 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:24
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:30
10 Hugh John Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 0:00:31


And here's the final top 10:


1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:17:10
2 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First 00:00:09
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 00:00:10
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:12
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:16
6 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:19
7 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana 00:00:22
8 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:24
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:30
10 Hugh John Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 00:00:31


And here's our report, images and photos from today's action.


Thanks for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow with coverage from stage 2.




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