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Wet Itzulia Basque Country stage ends in biggest career victory for Paul Lapeira

Primož Roglič retains race lead, Evenepoel moves up GC

Wet Itzulia Basque Country stage ends in biggest career victory for Paul Lapeira

Frenchman Paul Lapeira earned the biggest win of his career on Tuesday’s wet stage of the Itzulia Basque Country, triumphing from a reduced bunch sprint. All three of Lapeira’s professional victories have come in his third year with Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale. Primož Roglič avoided the crashes and kept the yellow leader’s jersey.

Roglic in yellow on Monday. Photo: Sirotti.

The Course

There might have been only one categorized climb soon after the start in Irún, but Tuesday’s profile looked like the serrated blade of a hand saw after it had been used on a battleship chain. The last kilometer was a drag of 1.7 percent. There was rain in the latter half of the 160 km.

The first breakaway of the 63rd edition was a quintet, of which two members–Jetse Bol and Xabier Mikel Azparren–had been breakmates three days previous in the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain. Bol took the maximum KOM point atop Saint-Ignace at Kilometre 19 and then the fugitives tried to survive.

As the rain tipped down, the pace grew hotter. The last of the escapees were sopped up with 12 km to go. At the intermediate sprint, 13th place Isaac del Toro prevailed. Crashes created chaos.

Decathlon-AG2R made a move with 1.5 km to go and then again with 800 km remaining. Lapeira’s leadout swung left and the Frenchman finished it off straight down the middle.

Wednesday sets the crest of a Cat. 2 climb 18 km from the finish line in Altsasu.

2024 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 2
1) Paul Lapeira (France/Decathlon-AG2R) 3:42:28
2) Samuele Battistella (Italy/Astana) s.t.
3) Pau Miquel (Spain/Euskatel) s.t.

2024 Itzulia Basque Country GC

1) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:55:02
2) Mattias Skjelmose (Denmark/Lidl-Trek) +0:10
3) Remco Evenepoel (Belgium/Soudal-Quick Step) s.t.