Alaphilippe strengthens grip on Itzulia points standings
For the third consecutive day, a reduced group contested the victory at the Spanish stage race, and Julian Alaphilippe was present again for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, coming agonisingly close to another victory. The World Champion, already victorious in Viana and sporting the green jersey on his shoulders instead of the rainbow one, was beaten by the smallest of margins on the uphill finish in Zamudio, which got to welcome an Itzulia stage for the first time.
After Mauri Vansevenant’s spell in a large breakaway group that stayed off the front until the final classified climb of the day came to an end, Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel went on the attack on the Vivero ascent, constantly applying pressure on the yellow jersey group, which resulted in several riders being shed out the back inside the last 20 kilometers of Thursday’s frantic stage.
When it became clear that the small peloton would remain as one despite the numerous moves that involved also other riders, Vansevenant and Evenepoel contributed to the pace-setting to make sure the last remaining member of the breakaway would be pulled back, which happened in sight of the flamme rouge. Remco, the best young rider of the race, piloted Alaphilippe through the tricky corners of the last kilometer, and the World Champion finished second for a hair’s breadth behind Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers), a result that cemented his position atop the points classification with two stages to go.
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