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Jonas Vingegaard has put himself in the spotlight during the final stage of the Itzulia Basque Country. The young, promising Dane rode offensively the whole day and easily climbed along with the favourites. In Eibar, he sprinted to the thirteenth place. Leader George Bennett faced some mechanical issues and his chances to improve his GC went up in smoke.
In the tough final stage, with eight climbs along the way, Vingegaard was part of the early breakaway of eighteen riders. They got a maximum lead of one minute. Due to the high pace of Astana, the leading group was caught on the Azurki, 65 kilometres before the finish. Vingegaard was able to maintain his position in the group with leader Emanuel Buchmann. At the finish, they had given in just over a minute and a half to the leading group of five who competed for both the stage and the overall victory.
“It was a very tough day. I was able to join the early breakaway, but we already got caught on the Azurki”, Vingegaard said. “Due to Astana’s high pace, the peloton split to bits after which I managed to stay in the second group. It went very well today, but in the end I had nothing left to sprint for a top ten position. This was my first WorldTour race and the way of racing is different from what I was used to. I think I am adapting well to the level. Today was a very nice day for me.”
Sports director Frans Maassen was impressed by Vingegaard. “The way Jonas rode today was certainly the highlight of the week. In a short, but tough stage, he was able to climb with the very best. It confirms his great potential. It was a fast stage in which the peloton was split to bits from the start. George was very unlucky early on in the stage. Someone rode into his wheel and therefore he had to change bikes. We waited for him with some guys, but that did not help for the remainder of his stage. Looking back at this week, we had hoped for and also expected a better result with George. After the stage of two days ago, in which he was suffering from the cold, he unfortunately couldn’t really recover.”