By Jonny Long
Mikel Iturria snatched victory from his former breakaway collaborators on stage 11 of the 2019 Vuelta a España.
The Euskadi Basque Country - Murias rider attacked the 12-strong breakaway from 25km out, soloing to the stage win as the chasers failed to get organised and successfully reel him back in, despite having him in their sights with a kilometre to go.
Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) led the remnants of the breakaway across the line six seconds later, with Lawson Craddock (EF Education First) in third.
The peloton finished more than 18 minutes behind the escapees, the GC riders taking a day off after yesterday's time trial and with many more important days ahead.
How it happened
Stage 11 was a day designed for the breakaway, with multiple attacks being launched as soon as the flag dropped. Five riders initially gained a small gap straight away, before 11 riders started to go clear after 12km.
Among the escapees were Lawson Craddock (EF Education First) who rode well in yesterday's time trial, the current KOM leader Ángel Madrazo (Burgos BH) and Gorka Izagirre (Astana). They had a gap of two minutes with 163km to go.
After another 10km the gap had grown to more than four minutes, as Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ) and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) bridged the gap and joined the front group.
Madrazo defended his polka dot jersey, being the first to the summit of the Col d'Osquich, with Ben O'Connor (Dimension Data) and Izagirre sweeping up the rest of the points as the counter ticked under 100km to go.
Up the second category Col d'Ispeguy, Madrazo was dropped with 57km remaining, as attacks came in from Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) and Gorka Izagirre. Aranburu led Izagirre over the summit, with Craddock third. The Spanish pair used their advantage to ride off the front on the descent, with the American Craddock soon joining them with 45km to go.
As the gap between the escapees started to decrease, Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott) and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Dimension Data) bridged across, with Howson taking the summit of the Col de Otxondo.
4km after the summit of the final climb of the day, the breakaway group came back together, with 31km to go.
With the elastic snapped, and the peloton trailing by more than 15 minutes, Mikel Iturria (Euskadi Basque Country - Murias) attacked with 25km to go, peeling off the front of the group.
With 12km to go and Iturria opening up a 30 second buffer over his former collaborators, Lastra attacked with Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) also going clear after his strong showing in stage 10's time trial.
Ghebreigzabhier then countered, dragging some more riders up the road to Cavagna, who was then dropped, as Iturria's advantage came down to 15 seconds with 9km to go.
Lawson Craddock then rode up to the chase group of four behind Iturria, his gap coming down to 13 seconds with 7.5km to the finish line.
Iturria went through the intermediate sprint with 6km to go, his gap holding at 12 seconds.
With 3km to go, Iturria's gap was still above 10 seconds as the chasers began to look at each other.
Howson then attacked around a roundabout with 2km to go as the gap shrank to eight seconds.
On a long, curving road under 2km to go, Iturria appeared up ahead, providing the carrot the chasers needed to bring Iturria back to within touching distance.
Howson belatedly tried to counter and bridge across but Iturria had done enough, sailing through the final 500m with enough of a gap to give him time to zip up his jersey and celebrate across the line as he took his first ever Grand Tour victory.
Vuelta a España 2019, stage 11: Saint-Palias to Urdax-Dantxarinea (180km)
1. Mikel Iturria (Esp) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias, in 4-36-44
2. Jonathan Lastra (Esp) Caja Rural -Seguros RGA, at six seconds
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First
4. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. François Bidard (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, all at same time
6. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data, at 9s
7. Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 12s
8. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Astana
10. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, all at same time
General classification after stage 11
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 41-00-48
2. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 1-52
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 2-11
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 3-00
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 3-05
6. Carl Frederik Hagen (Nor) Lotto-Soudal, at 4-59
7. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 5-42
8. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, at 5-49
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida, at 6-07
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb, at 6-25
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Punk Powder from Muc Off makes much needed dent in cycling industry's single use plastic pile
The powder is shipped in compostable 30g sachets
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •
DT Swiss GR1600 Spline gravel wheelset review
Reliable, robust, and respectably zippy – they’d not be out of place bought as an upgrade or a workhorse.
By Stefan Abram •
Fabio Jakobsen: ‘Dylan Groenewegen has not offered a personal apology or taken responsibility for his actions’
Fabio Jakobsen says Dylan Groenewegen is yet to apologise for the Tour of Poland crash, and is disappointed the Jumbo-Visma rider decided to reveal the pair met to the Dutch press
By Jonny Long •
Sam Bennett sprints to stage one victory at Volta ao Algarve 2021 after yet another perfect lead-out
Sam Bennett took the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve 2021 after his team nailed the timing of the lead-out yet again for their star fast man beating Danny Van Poppel and Jon Aberasturi.
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Egan Bernal: Everything will depend on how my back responds
Egan Bernal says his Giro d’Italia will depend on the back problems he has been struggling with in recent years.
By Alex Ballinger •
UAE Team Emirates sign another promising young talent
After discovering Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar and signing Marc Hirschi, the squad are banking on another young rider for the future
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Ineos Grenadiers reveal the full team for the Giro d'Italia 2021
Ineos Grenadiers have revealed their full squad for the Giro d'Italia 2021, with Egan Bernal leading the charge.
By Alex Ballinger •
'What is most important is that he's happy in what he's doing': Jumbo-Visma still unsure if Tom Dumoulin will return to pro cycling
The Dutchman has been on an indefinite break from cycling since January
By Shane Stokes •
‘Simon can learn to stand on his own two feet,’ says BikeExchange sports director after departure of Adam Yates
Simon Yates can learn to ‘stand on his own feet’ after the departure of his brother from Team BikeExchange, according to sports director Laurenzo Lapage.
By Alex Ballinger •
Five things we learned from the Tour de Romandie 2021
Geraint Thomas takes a yellow jersey en route to the one he really wants to win this summer
By Stephen Puddicombe •