Race report

Martijn Tusveld and Kevin Vermaerke impress in the break, Ilan Van Wilder 15th on punchy finish

Itzulia Basque Country

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

With yesterday’s time trial behind them, the peloton were faced with the first road stage of the race at Itzulia Basque Country; following a rolling 155 kilometre long route from Zalla to Sestao, that included a steep climb in the finale and a punchy rise to the line. Overcast and rainy conditions loomed over the bunch as they left the start town, and the attacks flew from the bunch.

Eventually after around 20 kilometres a group of six riders broke clear, including Martijn Tusveld for the team, before Kevin Vermaerke also attacked out of the peloton to join those out front. The break of seven worked well together and built up an advantage of four minutes where it stabilised, as the peloton started to work in the chase behind.

As the kilometres ticked by, the gap began to fall and heading into the final 30 kilometres it stood at just one minute, with the peloton clearly eager to contest the stage win. On the steep categorised climb, Tusveld and Vermaerke dug deep but there was nothing they could do to stop the charging peloton that caught them before the attacks started once again. Ilan Van Wilder rode a very measured effort, riding at his own tempo as things stop-started in front of him and he showed his good climbing legs by making it into the elite group over the top.

Navigating a wet and treacherous descent, stage winner Aranburu made his move, with the rest of the chasing group coming into the final kilometre together. On the punchy rise to the line, Van Wilder gave it his all, crossing the line for a strong 15th place finish.

“The goal was to go in the breakaway for us today, and Kevin and me succeeded in that,” explained Tusveld. “The cooperation was pretty good and for me the goal was to get over the last climb and try to go for a result but the peloton kept us really close and at the bottom the gap was already almost gone. I still tried to get over it but there was a small crash I was in on the climb so I didn’t make it over. Kevin and me tried our best and we will keep trying as a team the coming days.”

Team DSM coach Michiel Elijzen added: “It was a good day to be in the breakaway and we managed to get two guys in the front, with Martijn and Kevin. That was the goal for today and we succeeded at that, but it’s just a shame that they kept it pretty controlled in the peloton going towards the last climb. The guys in the bunch then did a job to position Mark and Ilan going onto that last climb. Ilan went over the hill with the best so that was good. I think it’s been a good start to the week for us, so hopefully we can keep this motivation and mindset for the rest of the stages.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 ARANBURU Alex Astana - Premier Tech 3:45:32 50
2 FRAILE Omar Astana - Premier Tech 0:15 20
3 POGAČAR Tadej UAE-Team Emirates ,, 8
15 VAN WILDER Ilan Team DSM 0:19 -
42 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 1:21 -
79 GALL Felix Team DSM 3:23 -
86 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 4:27 -
102 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 8:19 -
103 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
110 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -