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Tour of the Basque Country 2019: Stage 6


The short and sharp final leg of the Tour of the Basque Country starts and finishes in Eibar. There are no fewer than six classified climbs on the agenda, including the category 1 Azurki and the category 2 ascents of Karakate and Asensio. As ever, the race organisation's stage profiles make each climb appear like the north face of the Eiger and, as ever, that is not necessarily an inaccurate representation of the kind of climbs on offer in this corner of the world. The peloton is due to roll out shortly, at 14:32 local time. 

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) carries the yellow jersey into this final stage after a startling solo win yesterday. The German has a 54-second lead over Ion Izagirre, whose Astana team will surely attempt a concerted offensive this afternoon. 


General classification after stage 5:


1 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 16:23:30
2 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:54
3 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:04
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:32
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
6 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:55
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:56
8 Daniel Martínez (Col) EF Education First 0:02:11
9 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:25
10 Tadej Pogaar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
11 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 0:02:42
12 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:44
13 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:03:51
14 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:28
15 Sergio Henao (Col) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:41
16 Hugh John Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 0:04:54
17 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:05:06
18 Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC Team 0:05:08
19 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:05:15
20 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:05:32


There is one non-starter to report, as Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott) has abandoned the race ahead of the final stage.


118km remaining from 118km

Bora-Hansgrohe set the tempo in the peloton in the opening kilometres, mindful of the danger of an early ambush. After a short downhill section, the race immediately hits the day's first climb, the category 3 San Miguel, the summit of which comes after 9km.


115km remaining from 118km

There is a flurry of attacks as soon as the road begins to climb. Bora-Hansgrohe will be wary about the composition of any group that attempts to forge clear.


110km remaining from 118km

Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) was part of an early group of a dozen riders who opened a small gap over the peloton, but they have been pegged back approaching the summit of San Miguel.


108km remaining from 118km

De Marchi stayed at the front over the top of the climb, and he led over the summit of the San Miguel ahead of Lawson Craddock (EF Education First) and Carlos Verona (Movistar).


Craddock has continued his effort over the other side of the climb, and the Texan has Alexander Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) for company. This duo has a lead of 10 seconds over the bunch.


Meanwhile, Markel Iriziar (Trek-Segafredo) has abandoned his final Tour of the Basque Country, together with Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data).

100km remaining from 118km

The leading group has swelled in size to some 19 riders, but their margin over the peloton is a small one. As expected, this has been a brutally quick opening to proceedings on the final day in the Basque Country.


Away from the Basque Country, there is a little-known bike race taking place in northern France tomorrow, where Deceuninck-QuickStep's established leaders will hope to bounce back after missing out at the Tour of Flanders last week. Sadhbh O'Shea has Yves Lampaert's thoughts on Paris-Roubaix here.



90km remaining from 118km

An 18-man group has a lead of over a minute on the peloton. The escapees are: Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Lawson Craddock (EF Eudcation First), Carlos Verona (Movistar), Alexander Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Dries Devenyns (Deceunick-QuickStep), Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Navarro (Katusha-Alpecin), Michal Golas (Team), Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Jai Hindley (Sunweb), Alessandro De Marchi (CCC), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Jonas Vingegaad (Jumbo-Visma), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi-Murias) and Carlos Quintero (Manzana Postobon).


85km remaining from 118km

The escapees hit the category 3 climb of Kalbario with a lead of 1:33 over the peloton. Diego Ulssi is the highest-placed of their number on GC. The Italian began the stage in 14th overall, 4:28 down on Buchmann.


De Marchi led over the top of the Kalabrio, adding another 3 points to his lead in the king of the mountains classification.


Astana have taken up the reins of pursuit in the main peloton. Their blue jerseys are massed on the front and their efforts are helping to trim the break's advantage.


75km remaining from 118km

Sergio Henao leads the break on the third climb of the day, the Elkorrieta. They are a kilometre from the summit with a lead of just over a minute on the peloton.


Mitchelon-Scott have joined Astana at the head of the peloton, and the break's lead dips further to 43 seconds. Both teams are setting their stall out early as they seek to test Buchmann and Bora-Hansgrohe's resolve this afternoon.


71km remaining from 118km

De Marchi leads the break over the summit of the Elkorrieta to augment his lead in the mountains classification still further. The bunch passes the same point 34 seconds later.


There is precious little respite after the Elkorrieta. The escapees are immediately onto the lower slopes of the category 1 Azurki (6.4km at 6.8%).


68km remaining from 118km

The peloton has closed to within 20 seconds, which prompts Alessandro De Marchi to force the pace at the front of the break. The Italian's acceleration has duly fragmented the group, but the speeding peloton is not far behind.


The pace in the bunch is blistering. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) is among the riders struggling at the back.


De Marchi, Henao, Craddock and Verona have a small lead over the remnants of the break, but the peloton has fragmented into shards on this category 1 ascent, and the yellow jersey group is almost upon them.


66km remaining from 118km

De Marchi et al have indeed been joined by a very reduced yellow jersey group. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) is present but appears to be without teammates. Astana have numbers, including Izagirre and Fuglsang, as do Mitchelton-Scott to support Adam Yates. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) is also up here.


Fuglsang accelerates and Buchmann is immediately on his wheel. The German follows for 50 metres or so and then relents...


Fuglsang opens a small lead over the yellow jersey group and he has been joined by Ion Izagirre, who jumps across to form an Astana tandem on the front.


Buchmann has no teammate in this group, as Max Schachmann is in the second group on the road, and so the German is forced to take up the reins of pursuit himself, setting the tempo on the front.


Buchmann is struggling. When he swings over, Adam Yates accelerates, and the Briton quickly joins Fuglsang and Izagirre. Dan Martin and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) have also bridged across to form an elite group of five on the front. 


Buchmann is in a group with Mitchelton's Howson and Nieve, which means that he has to do all of the chasing himself. He is around 15 seconds down on Fuglsang, Izagirre, Yates, Martin and Pogacar.


Adam Yates and Dan Martin are setting a brisk tempo in the front. This five-man break has a golden opportunity to unravel Buchmann's overall lead. The gap is growing.


63km remaining from 118km

Dan Martin, Adam Yates, Jakob Fuglsang, Ion Izagirre and Tadej Pogacar have a lead of 23 seconds over Buchmann as they approach the summit of Azurki.


Buchmann crestes the summit of the climb 25 seconds down on the leaders in the company of Mikel Nieve, Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) and Carlos Verona (Movistar).


Buchmann's teammate Max Schachmann is in the third group on the road, 40 seconds down on Yates, Martin, Izagirre, Fuglsang and Pogacar.


58km remaining from 118km

Buchmann is positively hurtling down this descent. The German has taken a few risks, and he has reduced the leading quintet's advantage to 15 seconds or so. 


53km remaining from 118km

This far but no further for Buchmann. The German's deficit is edging out slightly again to 20 seconds. He is still 8km from the base of the day's next ascent, the category 1 Karakate.


50km remaining from 118km

Buchmann is, understandably, getting no help from his companions in this group, and his deficit to Izagirre et al is back out to 27 seconds. The Schachmann group, meanwhile, is 1:02 down. Buchmann is caught in no man's land, and will surely struggle to defend his yellow jersey over the 50km that remain.


Buchmann sits up and his group spreads across the road. They are waiting for the Schachmann group, which also contains Patrick Konrad and a delegation of EF Education First riders.


49km remaining from 118km

Buchmann's deficit yawns out to 1:06, and so Ion Izaggire is the virtual race leader.


Adam Yates leads Dan Martin and Izagirre through the intermediate sprint at Elgoibar, picking up 3, 2 and 1 second, respectively.


Tadej Pogacar leads Dan Martin and Izagirre through the intermediate sprint at Elgoibar, picking up 3, 2 and 1 second, respectively 

43km remaining from 118km

The reinforcements have done little to help Buchmann's chase effort. The yellow jersey is 1:25 down on the five leaders, and Ion Izagirre's virtual overall lead is growing.


42km remaining from 118km

Ion Izaggire, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Adam Yates (Mitchelon-Scott), Dan Martin and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) begin the category 1 ascent of Karakate with a lead of 1:25 over the yellow jersey group. It increasingly looks like the overall winner of the Tour of the Basque Country will come from this elite group.


For now, the five leaders seem content to work together, their cohesion helped, no doubt, by the presence of two riders apiece for Astana and UAE Team Emirates. Come the final ascent, we can expect any truce to come to an abrupt end.


In the virtual standing, Izagirre has a lead of 37 seconds on Martin and 39 on Fuglsang, while Buchmann would slip to 4th at 45 seconds if the race were to end now. Adam Yates has more than a minute to make up on Izagirre if he is to snatch yellow.


Fuglsang is setting a ferocious tempo in the front group, which has a lead of 1:43 over the Konrad-led chasing group.


Buchmann is isolated again in the yellow jersey group. Schachmann and Konrad have lost contact and now Buchmann has to take up the pace-making himself once again.


40km remaining from 118km

There are still more than 2km of climbing left on this ascent, and Buchmann's deficit stands at 1:46.


Movistar take up the reins of pursuit in the yellow jersey group on behalf of Mikel Landa, but it seems improbable that they can drag the Basque back into contention stage honours this afternoon. 1:50 the gap with 1.2km to go to the summit of Karakate.


37km remaining from 118km

At the top of the category 1 Karakate, Izagirre and the escapees have a lead of 1:58 over the yellow jersey group, which is still being propelled by Movistar.


There is one categorised climb to come, the category 2 Asensio (7.3km at 5.1%), but there is also a stiff unclassified ascent on the final approach to Eibar, which could serve as a springboard for late attacks.


There is another intermediate sprint with 22km to go, just before the climb to Asensio begins. 


31km remaining from 118km

Izagirre, Fuglsang, Pogacar, Martin and Yates continue to exchange turns smoothly as they barrel towards the next ascent with a lead of 1:48 over the Buchmann group.


27km remaining from 118km

The Buchmann group is 1:50 down on the five leaders, and it seems clear that the overall winner will come from this break.


25km remaining from 118km

The neo-professional Pogacar looks comfortable in this elite break, but then the Slovenian has been impressing throughout his opening weeks in the paid ranks, starting with his fine victory at the Volta ao Algarve in February.


22km remaining from 118km

Dan Martin wins the intermediate sprint ahead of Adam Yates and Izagirre, and the five leaders hit the base of the climb of Asensio with a gap of 1:44 over the chasing yellow jersey group, where Movistar and Bora are sharing the workload.


20km remaining from 118km

The five leaders are on the lower slopes of Asensio, which drags on for 7.3km at an average gradient of 5.1%.


Max Schachmann sets the tempo in the yellow jersey group at the base of the climb, but it's too little, too late for Buchmann, who is losing his grip on the overall lead. The gap remains locked at 1:50 to the elite quintet up front.


17km remaining from 118km

A little over 3km of Asensio left for Izagirre, Fuglsang, Martin, Pogacar and Yates. The unity of the leading group has yet to fragment, though it surely will as we draw closer to the finish.


Schachmann blows up on the Asensio and now Buchmann takes over once again at the front of the chasing group. The German hasn't been able to make a dent in his deficit all afternoon, and he remains 1:50 down on Izagirre et al.


15km remaining from 118km

In the virtual standings, Izagirre has 35 seconds in hand on Martin. The Irishman is now forcing the pace at the head of the break, but Izagirre is betraying no signs of weakness with a little over a kilometre to go to the top of Asensio.


14km remaining from 118km

Adam Yates now piles on the pressure at the head of the race. He stretches out the front group, but they will crest the summit together. 


14km remaining from 118km

Adam Yates leads over the top of Asensio, which will be enough to give him the king of the mountains title. The yellow jersey group has fragmented completely, meanwhile, but Buchmann continues to battle gamely to limit his losses.


12km remaining from 118km

The road kick upwards again after the KoM banner at Asensio, and Dan Martin accelerates clear of the break. The Irishman has 35 seconds to recoup on Izagirre if he is to snatch the yellow jersey at the death.


This is a smart move from Martin. Fuglsang is struggling to follow the pace, and Izagirre is forced to peg back the move by himself, with Yates and Pogacar lined up on his wheel.


11km remaining from 118km

Fuglsang briefly loses contact with Izagirre, Yates and Pogacar, but he gets back on once the road descends. On reaching the back of the group, he discovers that they have already pegged back Dan Martin. 


10km remaining from 118km

Izagirre, Fuglsang, Martin, Pogacar and Yates carry a buffer of 1:46 over Buchmann's small chasing group into the final 10km. The short, steep climb on the run-in to Eibar will be Martin's final roll of the dice as he looks to discommode Izagirre, but he knows that he is fast running out of road to pick up the 35 seconds he needs.


6km remaining from 118km

The five leaders are still together as they hurtle down the rapid descent off Asensio ahead of that last 500m climb in the finale.


4km remaining from 118km

The five leaders are in the streets of Eibar, where they are warmly applauded as they approach the base of the final, unclassified climb of the Tour of the Basque Country.


Fuglsang leads all the way up the climb, and, barring accident, his teammate Izagirre will win the Tour of the Basque Country.


3km remaining from 118km

Buchmann battles his way up the same climb, and his deficit is now 1:24, which would be enough to place him second overall.


3km remaining from 118km

Adam Yates kicks as the break hits the top of this short climb, and the Englishman has opened a small gap over the rest.


Adam Yates powers down the other side of the climb with a small lead over Martin, Izagirre and Fuglsang, with Pogacar a little further back.


1km remaining from 118km

Buchmann had reduced his deficit to 1:10, but is now showing signs of struggling. Can he at least hang on for a podium place?


1km remaining from 118km

Yates leads into the final kilometre, but the chasers are almost upon him.


The Astana duo stalk Yates, with Dan Martin in their wheel.


Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) wins the final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country.


Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) wins the sprint for second ahead of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Ion Izagirre (Astana).


Ion Izagirre (Astana) has won the 2019 Tour of the Basque Country.


Buchmann had already lost the yellow jersey but he may now have lost second place in the most absurd circumstances. His group was directed down the deviation for race vehicles in the finale. He gets back on track but crosses the line 1:35 down on the stage.



1 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 2:59:46
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:01
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
4 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana Pro Team
5 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:27
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo) 00:01:24
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 00:01:29
9 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:01:36
10 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott


Emanuel Buchmann loses out on a podium place as a result of that mis-step in the final kilometre. He places 4th overall, 43 seconds down on Izagirre, and 7 seconds behind the 3rd-placed Fuglsang. Dan Martin takes second overall.


General classification:


1 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana Pro Team 19:24:09
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:29
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:00:36
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:43
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:51
6 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:01:56
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 00:02:56
8 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 00:03:25
9 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:04:27
10 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 00:05:30



Adam Yates speaks: "Yesterday Buchmann went up the road and we knew today was the last chance to win. I think Astana had the right idea, they wanted to win on the GC. It was around 60-65 kilometres to go and the pace was super hard but luckily I had some teammates there to really push the pace. From there, the five of us worked well and in the final there I attacked in the final three or four kilometres and managed to win. Great day.

"It was a crazy day, just like yesterday the pace was super high all day. I think when Bora-Hansgrohe has the lead, teams like Astana know they have to push the pace to drop these guys so that's why you saw it earlier than usual and it doesn't just start in the final. It starts way before and it was the same today but luckily I like these kind of races."



The commissaires have amended the general classification and Buchmann has been bumped up to 3rd overall, 31 seconds down on Izagirre. His finishing time was amended so that he was not penalised for being diverted off course in the final kilometre.


Here is what we believe to be the updated general classification, though the race organisation has yet to send out the final results sheet. Fuglsang, incidentally, stood on the podium as the third-place finisher but has seemingly now been bumped down to fourth.


1 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 19:24:09
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:29
3 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:31
4 Jakob Fulgsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:36
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:51
6 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:56
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:56
8 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 0:03:25
9 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-Quick Step 0:04:27
10 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First 0:05:30




Thanks for joining our live coverage of the Tour of the Basque Country today and this week. We'll be back with more live updates from Paris-Roubaix tomorrow.


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