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Itzulia Basque Country: Primož Roglič pounces on GC win in dramatic final stage

David Gaudu wins stage after long attack with Roglič and Hugh Carthy, overnight GC leader Brandon McNulty cracks mid-race to tumble out of GC.

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David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) won the firecracker final stage of Itzulia Basque Country on Sunday, while Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) reversed his Paris-Nice setback to take the overall victory.

Gaudu dropped Roglič and final breakaway companion Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) on the final climb to Arrate to take the victory after an aggressive, hilly race. The result continues the 24-year-old’s promising start to the year having also won the Faun-Ardèche Classic.

Overnight race-leader Brandon McNulty (UAE-Team Emirates) was distanced under pressure from a handful of rival teams midrace and left to ride on solo. The 23-year-old finished the stage several minutes down and tumbled out of the GC.

McNulty’s teammate Tadej Pogačar had led a chase behind Gaudu, Roglič and Carthy in the final hour of the race, but his dozen-strong group sat on and left the Slovenian to do the pulling in his bid to jump up the GC. Pogačar finished the stage fifth to finish third overall. Roglic’s teammate Jonas Vingegaard finished second overall.

The final kilometers had come down to just Gaudu and Roglič as the Frenchman went full-tilt in the hunt for the stage.

With Roglič confident that he’d sealed the race overall, he looked to sit up early to let Gaudu take the line first. The win was the Slovenian’s second in the race having also won the 2018 edition.

“I’m so happy to win this stage,” Gaudu said. “I haven’t had a major win for a while, and it doesn’t happen every day that you finish with Primož, he’s such a strong rider. His work was very important for my win.”

Astana-Premier Tech piles pressure on UAE Emirates

A flurry of breakaways, attacks and counterattacks saw the front of the race shatter over the Elosua-Gorla climb and valley that followed.

Astana-Premier Tech piled the pressure on the peloton on the descent from the cat.2 climb to split the group, with Roglič following the move while McNulty, Pogačar and a number more GC riders were caught off guard and distanced.

A lead group formed that included Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and two teammates, Roglič and two teammates, three Astana Premier-Tech riders, dangermen Carthy, Gaudu and a handful more out front. Meanwhile, 30 seconds back, a small bunch including McNulty and Pogačar chased but struggled to gain time on the charging lead peloton.

McNulty suffers, Roglič pushes on over Krabelin climb

After the pressure through the previous hour, McNulty was distanced on the 17 percent slopes of the Krabelin, with Pogačar seemingly given the all-clear to ride on without him as he pedaled away without his teammate.

Roglič upped the tempo in the lead group to pull out Carthy and Gaudu as the Slovenian started to hunt down the GC lead having started the day second overall.

A group including Pogačar, Valverde and others began to chase after the Roglič-powered lead trio and caught the remnants of the front bunch. Although the group had numbers, Pogačar was left to do all the work, effectively setting up a pursuit race between him and Roglič heading into the two final climbs.

Further back, McNulty battled on solo but couldn’t limit his losses as the race slipped away from him.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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