American pipped by Roglic by just 2 seconds; Pogačar 5th
United Arab Emirates - April 06, 2021: Just two seconds separated Brandon McNulty from winning the opening time trial of the Itzulia Basque Country 2021.
The Basque World Tour stage race kicked off with a 13.9 km time trial held in Bilbao on a very tricky course. The riders immediately started with a 2.6 km climb with a maximum gradient of 11%, followed by a long stretch of descent to a final ramp of 500 meters with a peak of 19% maximum gradient.
The American from UAE Team Emirates put in a quality performance, completing the course in 17’19” averaging just under 50 km/h. Victory went to Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) by just 2″.
Tadej Pogačar finished the time trial in 5th place, 28” slower than that of his compatriot Roglic.
McNulty starts stage 2 wearing the jersey of best young rider of the race, while Pogačar will wear the mountains classification leaders jersey, having finished fastest on the day’s first climb.
Brandon McNulty: “It was pretty much a case of going full gas on the first climb, recovering a bit on the descent and then just giving it all on the last kick. I’m really happy with this result. Obviously I got close to the win which would have been amazing , but I gave it my all so no regrets. We’re in a really good situation now with me and Tadej high up on GC and looking forward to the days ahead ”.
Tadej Pogačar: “I am quite happy with my ride and I am confident for the next stages. I set out probably a little bit too hard but I still managed to finish well so the legs are good. In the rankings 28” separate me from the first position, but in in a hard race like this things can change quickly and in this region the weather can also be unpredictable so anything can happen. Brandon did a great ride too so we are happy with the team performance “.
The second stage of the Itzulia Basque Country will start from Zalla and will end in Sestao after 154.8 km: with the key points coming at the climbs of La Asturiana (7.7 km at 6.2% which peaks at 16 km from the finish line) and from the final ramp of 800 meters at 7.4% average gradient).
Results 1st stage and general classification
1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 17’17 ”
2. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +2 “
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +18 ”
5. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) +28