Itzulia Basque Country: Alaphilippe in green
Not a day without a Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider on the stage podium of the Itzulia Basque Country: after both Remco Evenepoel and Rémi Cavagna both finished in the top 3 of the individual time trial and Julian Alaphilippe took the spoils in Viana, it was the World Champion who came close to a second consecutive victory.
The route of stage 3 was a hard and relentless one, taking its toll on the peloton with more than 50 kilometers to go, when only 20-odd riders were still part of the peloton. As the group arrived at the bottom of the penultimate climb, our team was represented by Julian and Remco, who remained close to the front and controlled the moves that ended up reducing the bunch to a dozen or so men.
On the downhill, best young rider of the race Evenepoel put in a probing attack, only for the others to react, before taking up lead-out duties once again under the flamme rouge, with the rainbow jersey tucked in his wheel. The uphill finish was tailored to Julian’s punchy skills, and he kicked out with 150 meters to go, but was denied in the closing meters by Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Merida). His fifth podium of the season elevated the Frenchman to the top of the points classification, which he also led back in 2018.
“It was a very hard stage, with a big tempo and some steep climbs. Remco did an incredible amount of work once again and brought me in a good position for the finish, but I opened my sprint a bit too early and one rider was just stronger. No victory today, but I don’t have any regrets. The most important thing is that my condition is good, and other opportunities will come until the end of the race”, said Alaphilippe in Amurrio.
Photo credit: ©Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images