BORA-hansgrohe Team (Spain) - Press Release: The Tour of the Basque Country continued today with a relatively demanding course of almost 192 km in length. After the riders departed Sarriguren, they traversed a 9 km-long second category climb up to Goñi, with an average gradient of 4.7 per cent. Afterwards, the parcours was relatively hilly until reaching the climb to Opakua, a third category ascent, which was followed by a long descent. In the finale, the course climbed for 2 km until the finish line in Estibaliz. An eight rider strong breakaway led the race for most of the day and the peloton conceded not more than around 4 minutes during the day. BORA – hansgrohe was to be seen at the head of the main field, with our riders working to keep the advantage of the escapees within bounds. With 60 km of the race remaining, the leading group’s advantage had been whittled down to around 1:30 minutes. On the ascent to Opakua, Team Sky took greater responsibility for setting the pace in the main field, and the gap to the reduced breakaway group began to reduce slowly. At this time, BORA – hansgrohe was riding within the peloton, in an attempt to save energy and resources. With 15 km to go, the team from Raubling came to the front with Jay McCarthy and Pawel Polanski in order to control the tempo and bring Max Schachmann into a good position for the finale. In the last 6 km, there was a crash in the field, in which some favourites were involved, however, the BORA – hansgrohe riders were able to avoid being mixed up in the incident. In the last 500m, Max launched a decisive attack, which none of his rivals were able to keep up with. With that, he took a decisive stage victory and further stretched his lead in the general classification. After today’s stage, Patrick Konrad sits third in the general classification, and Emanuel Buchmann moved up into fifth position overall.
- M. Schachmann: 4:47:57
- D. Ulissi: +0:00
- E. Battaglin: +0:00
- M. Hirschi: +0:00
From the Finish Line:
"I want to thank the whole team. The guys supported me, like always, very well, and this was clear to see yet again today. In the finale, the were a crash and I hope that all the riders involved are ok. In the finish, I had Gregor and Jay there with me, and they brought me into a good position. I had good legs and that allowed me to notch up the win and defend my leader’s jersey. Yesterday we had a meeting and we discussed what I could do better, and today I implemented that, and it worked. I feel good and am happy to be able to reward the hard work of my team with this win. We still have three hard stages ahead of us, and I hope that I will still have something left in the tank after today.” - Maximillian Schachmann.
"We tried to defend the leader's jersey today, and we were able to do that successfully. The guys prepared the sprint perfectly for Max, and we were also able to look after our GC riders, Patrick and Emu. All the others, like Cesare and Pawel, controlled the race very well, and never let the breakaway have more than 4 minutes. During the race, other teams came to the front and so we didn't have to work the entire time. Luckily, we were also not involved in the crash. Our preparations worked out perfectly today. In the sprint, Emu and Jay did a fantastic job. We are very happy and of course will try our best to defend the jersey tomorrow." - André Schulze, Sports Director.