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Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2018: Stage 2

Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 2 of the Vuelta a Pais Vasco.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2018 hub page

Start list

Richie Porte back in action at Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Alaphilippe wins opening stage

 

 

As we join the racing, the riders have covered the opening 70km of the 168km stage.

 

Stage 2 from Zarautz to Bermeo is a hilly ride along the Basque coast. 

 

The stage started in the sun overlooking the stunning Zarautz beach, with stage 1 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) in the leader's yellow jersey. 

 

 

We had a fast start, with an attack by Fabio Felline (Trek) leading to a split in the peloton. 

 

Sky were in the first group and so drove the pace.  

 

The first serious climb after 612km sparked an interesting break.

The 11 attackers are Alexis Vuillermnoz (AG2R La Mondiale), Alessandro De Marchi and Damiano Caruso (BMC), Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Tao Geoghegan Hart and David Lopez (Sky), Tsgabu Grmay and Ruben Guerreiro (Trek – Segafredo), Michael Woods (EF – Drapac), Carlos Verona (Mitchelton – Scott) and Mark Padun (Bahrain – Merida).

 

The break formed after 61km on the first climb of the day.

 

They now lead by 2:00. This is going to be an interesting finale.  

 

89km remaining from 168km

The break has passed the intermediate sprint in Kortezubi, with Woods taking the points. 

 

 

We stand corrected on the sprint results it as actually Team Sky's Lopez who crossed the line first. 

 

He beat Guerreiro and Vuillermnoz.

 

The peloton has come back together behind the break but Michal Kwiatkowski has been slowed by a flat. 

 

It's not  problem for the former world champion and he is quickly back chasing the peloton.

 

86km remaining from 168km

The riders are about to enjoy their lunch after 82km. But they will have to be quick and eat on the move because the biggest climb of the 168km stage starts after 95km of racing.

 

 

With so many possible overall rivals in the break, it is up to Quick-Step Floors to lead the chase to defend Julian Alaphilippe's yellow leader's jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alaphilippe leads Roglic by 4 seconds after the two attacked and stayed away in the finale of stage 1.

 

All their rivals finished at least 33 seconds behind and so need to pull back time. 

 

To catch up on the racing from stage 1, click here. 

 

The stage hugs the rolling coast line of the Basque Country today., offering some spectacular views. However the riders have had little chance to enjoy the views so far. 

 

This is a shot of the break of the day.

 

 

It is interesting to see Damiano Caruso in there. 

 

He crashed into a car yesterday but cyclists are hard as nails and is still racing hard. 

 

Click here to read our story about his crash.

 

69km remaining from 168km

The gap is down to 1:45 now as the riders tackle the 4.2km Almika climb.

 

The Basque fans are again out in force, cheering the riders from the roadside of the climb. 

 

The 4.2km climb averages 9.2% but there is a 1.2km section at over 14%. 

 

We can see some drops of rain from the Cyclingnews blimp, with the wind also playing a factor.

 

Woods is driving the pace now on the climb. He's trying to crack some of the riders in the move.

 

Winds of 25km/h are forecast today. The twisting stage route and climbs will protect the riders for some spells but it will hit the race on others.   

 

66km remaining from 168km

The peloton passes the summit of the Almika climb, 1:40 down on the break.

 

The rain means the roads is wet for the descent.

 

Woods is the virtual race leader in the break of the day.

 

He finished 20th yesterday, 51 seconds down on Alaphilippe. In theory he's riding for Rigoberto Uran in the Pais Vasco but is a clear overall threat too. 

 

 

 

60km remaining from 168km

Riders are using the descent to eat some late race food. 

 

They face 10 more climbs of various lengths in the final 60km.  

 

55km remaining from 168km

The gap is falling gradually as James Knox (Quick-Step Floors) leads the peloton.

 

The British neo-pro crashed yesterday but fights on. 

 

With 11 riders in the move, some are trying to be smart and miss turns. That has in turn sparked attacks as riders try to get ride of the freeloaders.

 

52km remaining from 168km

The attacks have reduced the gap to the peloton, it is down to 1:10. 

 

The race is in the valley of Gatika, inland from the exposed coast. 

 

The riders climb again for the Cat 3 Jata, which twists up the hillside overlooking the coast. 

 

We should have some spectacular photos in our full race report later. 

 

48km remaining from 168km

The riders in the break have stopped attacking each other and so the gap to the peloton is back up to 1:30.

 

 

The LottoNL jumbo team have hit the front of the peloton to help Quick-Step with the chase. 

 

They also know that several big contenders are up the toad in the break. 

 

 

44km remaining from 168km

The sweeping descent takes the riders to near the coast now. 

 

The peloton is lined out behind. This is going to be a fast finale. 

 

The break is about to hit the Jata climb. It is proceeded by two other teeth, that will hurt too. 

 

The views across the coastline are stunning but the exposed roads mean the wind from the sea will be a key factor today.

 

 

38km remaining from 168km

The team cars behind the break have been pulled out from the race before the climb. Logical considering the climbing and descending to come. 

 

The bar is closed early today.

 

36km remaining from 168km

With 36km to race, the stage is finely balanced. 

 

Will the break stay away over the late climbs or come back together for sprint of the strongest? 

 

The peloton seems to be playing with the break but we should watch for Woods, Vuillermoz, Caruso, Verona and Geoghegan Hart going on the attack and trying to hold off the peloton.

 

The 2.2km Jata climb starts now. It has an average of 6.6% but sections at 9%. 

 

The team cars are back up to the break and EF DS Tom Southam quickly feeds Michael Woods and gives him some final tactical info. 

 

The 11 riders in the break are refusing to give up the fight. This is no ordinary early attack but a quality move that includes some strong riders. 

 

The peloton has been warned. 

 

26km remaining from 168km

The gap is down to 1:00 as the peloton ups the pace and makes the chase.

 

Th next 10km includes two uncategorised climbs before the final San Pelaio climb with 10km to go. 

 

Astana are also helping with the pursuit of the break. They have local resident Pello Bilbao ready for the finish.

 

20km remaining from 168km

Astana have five riders up front, leading the chase but other teams are gathering too.

 

 

The break explodes as Carlos Verona attacks.

 

The Mitchelton rider blows the attack apart but they reform on a descent. 

 

The peloton is chasing and the gap is down to 30 seconds but the attackers still have a chance.

 

 

The peloton can almost see the break but the twisting roads makes it hard for them to maintain a fast chase.

 

On the second uncategorised climb Lopez kicks it off again. 

 

Richie Porte is spotted at the back of the peloton. He's fighting for form after missing Tirreno-Adriatico due to illness.

 

16km remaining from 168km

Lopez dances on the pedals and has gapped the rest of the break. 

 

The rest of the break seems to have lost speed and the desire to stay away.

 

This is Lopez from earlier in the stage. The 36 year-old veteran is riding strongly today.

 

 

13km remaining from 168km

Lopez has a chance to recover on the descent to the final climb. 

 

The peloton has split behind him.

 

Vincenzo Nibali is now doing the work for his Bahrain teammates the Izagirre brothers.

 

11km remaining from 168km

Lopez has a gap on the remains of the break, with the peloton at a further 23 seconds. 

 

The final climb will be decisive.  

 

Behind the peloton is in high pursuit. 

 

The 3.4km San Pelaio climb will surely see the race explode.  

 

Lopez turns left onto a exposed coast road. He has a tailwind but the gradient kicks in. 

 

Ouch. The road is steep! 

 

We can see a rainbow in the distance but the race is on. 

 

Michael Matthews has bravely kicked clear of the peloton.

 

He's super aggressive. 

 

But the strongest riders are chasing him, including Alaphilippe.

 

Lopez is caught and distanced. Mathew kicks away again on the steep, steep road.

 

Some parts of the climb touch 19!  

 

8km remaining from 168km

The gradient is splitting the peloton.

 

The summit comes just 6.5km from the finish. 

 

Enrico Mas surges away. Who can catch him? 

 

The others chase him down and ease up. 

Now Alaphilippe goes! 

 

The race leader is on the attack. 

 

He is over the steepest part of the climb and has a gap. 

 

Will he go solo? 

 

There is a group of chasers behind him as the gradient hurts their legs.

 

Alaphilippe is going deep at maximum pace. 

 

The huge effort is shaking out the chasers.

 

Roglic tries, with Landa on his wheel.

 

They Catch the Frenchman but others are coming up too. 

 

Roglic kicks again and takes Landa and Alaphilippe with him.

 

6km remaining from 168km

As they start the descent to the finish Izagirre joins the trio. Bardet, Uran and Mollema are in the chase. 

 

Alaphilippe calls on the others to lead on the descent.

 

4km remaining from 168km

The riders cutting the fastest line on the descent.

 

The gap is 10 seconds to the chasers.

 

The finish comes right after the descent.

 

There's little chance for the chasers to catch the quartet.

 

Alaphilippe is sat at the back of the 4. That could slow their pace. 

 

The road is wet, the gap is up to 20 seconds now.

 

2km remaining from 168km

The chasers are not as fast in the corners.

 

1km remaining from 168km

The gap is 15 seconds with 1km to go but the four are playing games. 

 

Getting the right wheel is vital for the sprint.

 

Here we go. A four-rider sprint for the win.

 

Roglic leads it out. 

 

The road rises and Alaphilippe comes past Roglic to win again. 

 

Alaphilippe timed his final kick perfectly. Roglic was strong but faded on the front. 

 

 

Alaphilippe won in the leader's yellow jersey and gave Quick-Step Floors their 22nd win of the season. 

 

 

 

Alaphilippe celebrates with his teammates. 

 

We stand corrected it is Quick-Step Floors 23rd win. 

 

Alaphilippe was on Roglic's wheel after the final corner and then kicked hard with his hands on the drops to hit the front and win.

 

Izagirre was third, with Lands fourth. 

 

It was Gorka Izagrirre. 

 

This is the top ten on the stage. 

 

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 4:11:47
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
3 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:15
6 Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
7 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team
8 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
10 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida

 

Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) impressed again, finishing fifth at 15 seconds and winning the sprint behind.

 

Everyone else was in the same time of even further back as Alaphilippe and Roglic gained more time overall.

 

 

This is the new overall classification after stage 2. 

 

Alaphilippe now leads Roglic by 8 seconds, with Gorka Izagirre up to third at 39 seconds.

 



1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 8:29:13
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:08
3 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:39
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:43
5 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:54
6 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:58
7 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
8 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 

 

Here is Alaphilippe winning in the yellow jersey. Roglic took second just as on stage 1.

 

 

The Quick-Step Floors team is understandably celebrating their 23rd win of 2018 and Alaphillippe's second consecutive win. 

 

The Belgian team struggled to find a new sponsor for 2018 but seem hungrier than ever. The lack of an absolute team leader seems to motivate everyone in the team. 

 

 

 

Here's another shot of Alaphilippe in action.

 

 

To see our full race photo gallery and read the full race report, click here. 

Join us tomorrow for more live coverage from the Vuelta a Pais Vasco.

 

 

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