País Vasco, stage 6: Roglic claims GC despite early crash, Mas wins stage

Enric Mas took his first professional victory on Saturday with an emphatic solo win on the final day of the 2018 Vuelta al País Vasco.

ARRATE, Spain (AFP) — Former ski-jumper Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) claimed overall victory in the 2018 Vuelta al País Vasco in Arrate, Spain, following Saturday’s sixth and final stage. The stage was won by Spaniard Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors).

Roglic crashed at the beginning of the stage and was dropped by his nearest challenger Mikel Landa (Movistar) on the final climb. But the 28-year-old had a big enough lead in the overall standings to hold onto the leader’s jersey and leave Landa, a Basque, frustrated.

“This was tougher than I and the team expected beforehand,” Roglic said. “Unfortunately I crashed hard, just after the neutral start. I have abrasions, but all in all, it is not too bad. From that moment on, other teams went full gas and the race was on. It was difficult to get back in the front. The team has done an excellent job.

“I am very proud and grateful. In the end, it was mainly a game of poker and I tried to not give them any impressions of how I felt on the bike. On the final climb, I knew that I had secured the overall win because the climb was not too long. This was a main goal and I succeeded. In the future I hope to win even more of such great stage races and who knows one day I can also do well in a Grand Tour.”

Mas, 23, earned his first ever victory as a professional on the 122-kilometer stage from Eibar to Arrate. Landa was second on the day at 12 seconds, but he had almost two minutes to make up on Roglic at the start of the stage. Roglic came home in eighth and only lost 40 seconds to Landa, so won by more than a minute overall.

“I had my eyes on this stage from the beginning of the week and after yesterday, where I felt really good but lost some time, I knew I wanted to try something,” Mas said after the podium ceremony. “This morning, we decided that I should give it a go, so I joined the break. On the last climb, as I was riding alone, I heard in the radio that Landa and Quintana were chasing me, but remained confident and pushed really hard in the final two kilometers, gaining some more time and keeping the gap all the way to the finish.”

Spaniard Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) was third on the day and overall while Tour de France contender and former winner of both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, Nairo Quintana of Colombia finished fifth on the stage and overall.

Top 10, stage 6

  • 1. Enric Mas, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, in 03:17:22
  • 2. Mikel Landa, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 0:18
  • 3. Ion Izagirre, BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, at 0:35
  • 4. Dylan Teuns, BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:39
  • 5. Nairo Quintana, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 0:42
  • 6. Thomas De Gendt, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 0:51
  • 7. Emanuel Buchmann, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:59
  • 8. Gregor Muhlberger, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 1:06
  • 9. Primoz Roglic, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 1:06
  • 10. Patrick Konrad, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 1:06

Final GC

  • 1. Primoz Roglic, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, in 20:53:47
  • 2. Mikel Landa, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 1:09
  • 3. Ion Izagirre, BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, at 1:42
  • 4. Emanuel Buchmann, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 3:14
  • 5. Nairo Quintana, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 3:17
  • 6. Enric Mas, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 3:29
  • 7. Bauke Mollema, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 3:50
  • 8. Pello Bilbao, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 4:14
  • 9. David De La Cruz, TEAM SKY, at 4:15
  • 10. Patrick Konrad, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 5:30