Itzulia Basque Country 2023 – Stage 5

A day that can either be a stage for the breakaway, the sprinters or the GC.


We have climbing early on, meaning the breakaway could have a few strong climbers. JV lost Dennis today, one less guy to pull.

The stage has 3260 climbing meters, now that is a lot. The hardest climb is the Paresi but it is too far from the line to consider it a big GC day. The start is the worst, 1300m at 12.1%.

Over the top, we could see gaps between the GC contenders. Here are the remaining 64 km. Up and down mostly, with plenty of chances to attack. Mostly southwards before turning north 13 km out.

Now, this is the finale.

First up, 900m at 10.1%.

Second climb is 1450m at 6.1% with a short plateau in the middle section.

Last climb is 800m at 8.1%.

What I can say is positioning is key. All the climbs come after very sharp turns. There is a roundabout with 150m left of the stage. You want to be the first one through that.


Not too much wind again, temperatures in near 18 C and no rain.

How will the stage unfold?

Now this is a tricky one. It is much tougher than stage 1. I doubt we will see a sprint and the reason is simple. If they ride for a sprint, the GC riders will attack in the finale. It is too difficult for Hayter, Aberasturi, Aranburu and Aular.

Who wants to chase for a GC day? JV will ride to defend the jersey but we saw today they do not care too much about the breakaway being up the road. They already have two wins. Movistar for Mas? Would be foolish. It suits the boys from the Wolfpack, both Bagioli and Schmid could do well in a sprint. Then what about Landa? Without Bilbao, they are 6 men left. Add the fact stage 6 looks very, very important. The GC men may want to take this one a bit easy.

There are a lot of riders JV do not want up the road, or getting too far up the road. Especially since they too are down to 6 riders. They will have to monitor it, otherwise, it will be a very long day for them.


Vingegaard – if it becomes a GC day, expect him to follow attacks and counter one of the climbs. It is the best thing to do when isolated.

Higuita – he will love the look of this stage. He is better on shorter inclines as he packs a fantastic punch. I imagine he will be one of the bookmakers favorites as he also did well on the climb today.

Gaudu – another rider who will love this finale. He packs a very good punch. The thing is, I doubt he is fast enough downhill to get in to a good position on the downhill if he is in the group.

Landa – he will be up there just not winning.

Bagioli – QuickStep option #1. Today’s climb was too long for him, tomorrow suits him better.

Schmid – QuickStep option #2. He took the last turn today at the front, he will try the same tomorrow. It might just bring him a win!

I. Izagirre – up there among the best again today. He will be there again tomorrow.

Chaves – I expect to see him attack in the finale.

Cavagna – QuickStep breakaway option. He is going very, very well just now.

Fraile – breakaway option. I doubt INEOS will be happy with another day pulling for nothing.

Huys – breakaway option, he impressed me a lot with his attack on stage 3.

Carapaz – he will test the legs again, tomorrow hopefully from the breakaway.


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cavagna

⭐⭐⭐ Vingegaard, Higuita

⭐⭐ Gaudu, I. Izagirre, Landa, Chaves

⭐ Fraile, Bagioli, Schmid, Huys, Carapaz

Who will win?

I will take a breakaway win for Cavagna. I just don’t see anyone wanting to pull all day with stage 6 coming up. But we will see attacks in the finale.

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