BORA-hansgrohe Team (Spain) - Press Release: The 59th edition of the Tour of the Basque Country commenced today with an almost 12 km-long individual time trial around Zumarraga. It also marked the first time that Itzulia has featured a race against the clock as an opening stage. The first part of the parcours was not particularly demanding, however, 3km before the finish, the riders had to traverse a 2.3km-long ascent with an average gradient of almost 10 per cent. Gregor Mühlberger was the first BORA – Hansgrohe rider to take to the start on wet roads in the early afternoon, and ended up finishing the course in a time of 18:39. We was then followed by Cesare Benedetti and Jay McCarthy. E. Mas led the standings for quite some time at this point, having completed the course in 17:34 minutes. However, then Patrick Konrad left the start house, and after cresting the only climb of the day, he was only 2 seconds behind the provisional leader Mas. He was able to take more time out of the Spaniard in the last part of the course, and as a result he set a new best time of 17:29. Teammates Max Schachmann and Emanuel Buchmann were the last BORA – Hansgrohe riders to take on the race against the clock. Max was able to put in a very strong performance and he bettered the time of his teammate by 19 seconds. He reached the finish in 17:10 minutes, and in the end, that was enough to seal the stage victory, and he now also holds the yellow jersey of the leader in the general classification. Emanuel Buchmann, with his 15th position today, also demonstrated good form and capped off an outstanding overall result for BORA – hansgrohe.
01. M. Schachmann: 17:10
02. D. Martinez: +0.09
03. M. Kwiatkowski: +0.10
06. P. Konrad: +0:19
From the Finish Line:
“This is my third win in this season alone, and it’s really something special. It was a difficult time trial, and I didn’t completely know if I could pull it off, particularly in such a strong field which also contains riders of the calibre of Alaphilippe. We’ve come to this race with a very strong team, and therefore we have several options. And of course we have come here with big ambitions and we also want to achieve more in this race.” - Max Schachmann.
“We did a recon of the course several times and said that if there were wet roads, then we would be ready to do a bike change. But then we decided that it was relatively dry enough for Max, and got through the time trial well, and rode a very technically sound race. He was able to net a very strong win today. Our GC riders, like Patrick Konrad, for instance, also put in good performances today, with 6th place, and Emanuel Buchmann also did well, particularly for a pure climber. Now we’ll take it day by day as we head into the next stages.” - André Schulze, Sports Director.