Primož Roglič powers to victory on opening time trial of Tour of the Basque Country 2021

Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar and Adam Yates both lose 28 seconds to Roglič during stage one in the Basque Country

Primož Roglic took the opening stage of the Tour of the Basque Country 2021 by just two seconds over young American Brandon McNulty on the outskirts of Bilbao.

Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) held the lead for almost the entire day with a very solid time as he continued his exceptional form despite his double crash on the final day of Paris-Nice in early March.

His two main rivals, Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) both lost 28 seconds to the stage winner.

The route started and finished on the outskirts of the city in Bilbao taking in two tricky climbs over 13.9km.

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Jumbo-Visma also managed to get Jonas Vingegaard and Tobias Foss up in the top four as well as they look to show their strength.

How it happened

The first stage of the Tour of the Basque Country 2021 was a short individual time trial, which is unusual for the race that is often brought to a close with a test against the clock.

The last time the race took place was in 2019 as it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Starting and finishing on the hilly outskirts of the regional capital of Bilbao taking in two climbs, a long one right at the start with two sections at 11 per cent gradient followed by a descent back into Bilbao before a sharp kick to the line that hits a maximum kick of 19 per cent on the 13.9km course.

Some of the pre-race favourites went off very early including the Vuelta a España champion Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) who took the lead over his team-mate Jonas Vingegaard by 18 seconds with a time of 17-17.

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Other top names in the race that went early were Paris-Nice winner Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) with a 17-48, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech) who set a time of 17-56, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was just outside 18 minutes, with Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange) all inside 19 minutes.

Roglič continued to hold the top spot ahead of two of his team-mates. Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) managed a solid ride inside 40 seconds of the Slovenian star as he continued his comeback from a hip problem.

Giro d’Italia champion, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) finished just over a minute down on Roglič but the Londoner is on his way back from a crash at Paris-Nice.

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), who specialises in hilly time trials, led by five seconds over everyone else at the intermediate split at the top of the categorised climb that started off the stage.

McNulty very nearly held on but just missed out on the lead of the stage by just two seconds behind Roglič.

Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers), who has shown some amazing form at the start of this season, was just seven seconds down on McNulty at the time check. The rider from Greater Manchester continued his solid ride, albeit losing a bit more in the closing stages, to finish 28 seconds behind the leader.



The final man off the ramp was Tour de France champion Pogačar. The Slovenian time trial champion slotted in at almost the exact same time as Roglič at the split but faded dramatically at the finish to come in 28 seconds down.

Roglič took the leader’s jersey by just two seconds over Pogačar’s team-mate, McNulty and a further 18 and 24 seconds to his own Jumbo-Visma team-mates Vingegaard and Foss.

Results

Tour of the Basque Country 2021, stage one: Bilbao to Bilbao (13.9km, ITT)

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma, in 17-17
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 2 seconds
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 18s
4. Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 24s
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 28s
6. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 28s
7. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 28s
8. Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 29s
9. Alex Aranburu (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at 30s
10. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 31s

General classification after stage one

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma, in 17-17
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 2 seconds
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 18s
4. Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 24s
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 28s
6. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 28s
7. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 28s
8. Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 29s
9. Alex Aranburu (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at 30s
10. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 31s