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Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2018: Stage 1


Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 1 of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco.


Welcome to our live coverage. We're roughly half-way through today's stage with 85km to go. Five categorised climbs on the route with a break of four riders up the road. They have 1'35 over the peloton as things stand and we race along the coast. 

It's Movistar who are currently setting the pace at the front of the peloton. The Spanish WorldTour team come into the race with both Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana in their ranks. This is the first time they've raced together on the same team, so all eyes will be on how they perform as potential co-leaders with the Tour de France just a few months away. We're currently climbing at the moment but there are three further categorized climbs on the route today as we see the four-man break hold their 1'35 lead. 

The four leaders broke away in the opening 10km of the stage:

Team Sky and Bora have come to the front as well, and have joined Movistar in setting the pace. The bunch are just holding the leaders at over a minute with three key climbs still to come. It's steady, rather than all-out racing at the moment.

Nibali is near the front at the moment and he looks pretty relaxed considering that 24 hours ago he was competing and contending in the Tour of Flanders. The Italian kicked off the winning move but was distanced by Niki Terpstra, before fading at the finish. Still, it was a spirited performance from the Italian. You can read about his race performance, right here.

80km remaining from 162km

We're onto the Maddiola, 6,3km in length with riders already starting to struggle near the rear of the bunch. 

And there's an attack from Lotto-Soudal at the front of the main field. Who else but Thomas De Gendt. He creates a small gap and then checks back to see the damage he's created. Within seconds he's made it up to the four leaders, and immediately starts the set the pace. One rider from Astana has joined the action too. It's Cataldo. Nice move from the Italian to spot the danger.

De Gendt's arrival has inspired the leaders and they've added another 15 seconds to their advantage.

Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez crashed earlier in the stage, and he's only just making contact with the back of the bunch now. 

Meanwhile, you can catch up on all our Tour of Flanders tech, right here. We've a huge gallery of images from Sunday's main event.

Perfect racing conditions today, with relatively warm spring-time weather and not a drop of rain. The peloton are now snaking their way down the descent with the De Gendt group at 46 seconds. 

Our Tour of Flanders race debrief is now live on the site, with expert opinion from Matt White

At the back of the bunch here in Pais Vasco, Roglic and Uran are taking on fuel at the back of the bunch. It's still Movistar on the front but Mitchelton Scott have also joined the party. 66km to go.

At the front of the race Cataldo and De Gendt, as you would expect, are doing the majority of the work and marshalling the other riders to take their turns. The gap has gone back out to 1'16. 

Bahrain Merida and Katusha have posted men on the front of the bunch with 62km to go. This has allowed Movistar to just sit back for a moment and organise their riders for the final few climbs. De Gendt and co have 1'21 over the main field.

It's Mark Padun for Bahrain Merida who is doing the majority of the pace setting. The 2017 Flèche du Sud winner is racing his first stage race of the year, and only raced 20 days in the last campaign. He's only 21, so the team are letting him develop at his own pace. 

Bakelants is on the front now. This is his first race back since that awful fall in Lombardia last year. Welcome back. 

The leaders are now on the 2.8km long Garate climb. The lead has dropped to 42 seconds as De Gendt sets the pace.

As soon as the road rises Movistar push to the front and begin to tap out the tempo that suits them. It's Anacona, out of contract this year, who leads from the front. The lead is back out to 53 seconds.

Movistar are clearly not happy with De Gendt conducting this raid and they've holding him at one minute. The rise in pace sees a few more sprinters spat out the back of the bunch as De Gendt starts to split the group as they crest the top of the climb.

We've lost Salas from the lead group, so we're down to five riders in the break. That Salas is not to be confused with the one, who did this against England at Wembley a few years back.

46km remaining from 162km

2:20 for the leaders as we head into the final 45km of racing. 

39km remaining from 162km

That surge in pace from Roglic's team has reduced the gap to 1'46. QuickStep have also joined the fun, with Bora also in close contention. 

At the back of the bunch... Steve Cummings, who is just keeping out of trouble today. 35km to go.

The five-leaders are sharing the pace and all working hard as we head into the final 50 minutes of racing. The gap is dropping, and it's at 1'17.

With De Gendt in the break but about to be caught, there's just time to read this: De Gendt: The art of the breakaway specialist.

We're climbing again but the gap to the leaders is well under 30 seconds. 

Not a summit finish today but once we crest the final summit it's 6km of descent. The climb is certainly hard enough to split the peloton, so we could see the race split to pieces. 

Boswell is now setting the pace at the front of the peloton for Katusha, with almost the whole of Mitchelton Scott behind the American. 24km to go. The break have been caught.

And it's a Mitchelton Scott rider who has attacked. It's Haig who goes but now Team Sky start to set the pace. 

The Orica rider is given 30m and Team Sky then set about chasing him down. Kwiatkowski, Uran, Bardet and Nibali are all near the front with Haig now brought back.

Movistar have reappeared at the front of the peloton with Landa and Quintana both in contention. They pull alongside Team Sky with 22km to go. We're about to crest this climb, and then head towards the final ascent of the day. The descent between the two climbs could be crucial too.

Team Sky continue to lead on the descent with Movistar sitting just in the wings before we start the final climb of the day. 

18km remaining from 162km

15km to go and Team Sky continue to set the pace. EF-Drapac, LottoNL, AG2R and Bora are all in the mix as we start the climb in a few minutes. Uran's men are currently setting the pace.

Crash. A rider hits the curb at a roundabout and comes down. I think he was Quick-Step. That has created a gap and three Sky riders clear before Movistar shut the move down.

12km remaining from 162km

LottoNL have nudged Team Sky off the front with 10km to go. 

Onto the climb and Movistar set the pace

They line the bunch out with 9,5km to go. 

And this where the road really rises, as it hits 20 per cent. Quintana is second wheel. 

Everyone out of the saddle as gradient jumps dramatically. 

And Roglic moves right from the front and accelerates with 9km to go. Quintana and Alaphilippe mark him. The rest hang on.

Roglic, in the saddle, is just grinding his way to the top of the climb. He stands once more and accelerates. Only Quintana and Alaphilippe can follow. Bardet is in 6th wheel. 

The three leaders have just a couple of seconds on the rest of the bunch but gaps are starting to appear. 

8km remaining from 162km

They're back together once more but the gap is growing to the rest of the pack.

Again the road climbs, and Roglic leads. Quintana drifts to the back of the group and he's dropping back. He's dropped. Roglic and Alaphilippe have dropped the Movistar man as Uran closes.

Roglic is setting a furious pace, and Alaphilippe can only follow.Quintana is not going to come back at this pace. 

And now Alaphilippe accelerates with 300m to go until the summit. Roglic pulls him back but that's surely done for Quintana. 

The Movistar man is still holding a gap over the chasers behind. They include Uran and Bardet, and Mollema.

The two leaders have 22 seconds over Quintana with 6.5km to go.

Groups all over the road but the leading two should decide the finish at this rate. 6km to go and they're in full descent mode. Alaphilippe is leading and more willing to take risks. The gap is at 22 seconds. 

5.3km to go and it  looks like Quintana has been swept up by the chase group. 24 seconds now for the two leaders. 

Roglic takes over and puts in a massive turn with 4km to go. They are really taking risks on the corners but they're holding the gap at 23 seconds.

3km remaining from 162km

Just over 10km to go and these two riders will decide the finish. They have 23 seconds of a gap. 10-second bonus for the stage winner.

Roglic hits the front with 700m to go.

He brings him to the barriers. 300m to go. 

Alaphilippe goes.

Roglic is coming back.

But Alaphilippe takes the win. 

Here come the chasers. It's an Astana rider who leads the chase home. Uran is further down in a group that contains Nibali.

At the finish Roglic goes and congratulates Alaphilippe on the win. More and more riders are still coming over the line. 

Alaphilippe played it well enough at the finish. He moved Roglic to the front with 1000m to go and then launched his sprint with over 200m from the line. It looks like he had gone too early when Roglic came back at him but the Frenchman just had enough in the tank. 

That's Alaphilippe's second win of the season, his first in Europe since a stage of last year's Vuelta a Espana.

Today's top ten:

You can find our brief report, and results, right here.

Nibali, Landa, Woods, all lost over 50 seconds. Quintana, Mollema and Bardet were 23 seconds down on the line.

Correction on GC results:

General classification after stage 1

Thanks for joining us today. We'll be back tomorrow with more live coverage from the race.

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