Itzulia Basque Country 2024 – GC Preview

It is a very strong start list this edition. It is just a shame the route is a bit dull.

Stage 1

We start with a hilly TT. The climb should be to the advantage of the lighter time trial riders.

Stage 2

It should be a stage for the sprinters. It will be interesting to see, if anything happens near the last intermediate sprint (3, 2, 1 seconds).

Stage 3

The profile below makes it look very tough. It isn’t, it is merely 2600 climbing meters. It is too hard for some sprinters and too easy for the GC men. There is a chance the breakaway will win the stage.

Stage 4

A muro-stage. Olaeta, Untzilla and Leintz-Gatzaga. We will have to see how much damage can happen here. The most likely scenario is that the last climb will have the biggest impact.

Stage 5

Urkiola is a tough climb, unfortunately they’ve put it a long way from the line. The GC riders will only have two ascents of Muniketagaina to distance their rivals. It could also be another stage for the breakaway.

Stage 6

This is the classic Basque stage. Krabelin and Izua are two very tough climbs. In theory, this stage should create the biggest time gaps.


There might be rain on some of the stages. Today (TT-day) it would carry a big impact and on Saturday it would too. For now, it looks like the only two stages where the roads will be wet.


Vingegaard – he will likely have his work cut out for him on stage 6. I think it will be the only stage where the favorites can distance eachother. In all fairness, I think he will be some seconds after Evenepoel before Saturday. It means he will have to attack early and try to distance the Belgian on the climbs. Will he win? I wouldn’t call him the sole favorite given the route.

Evenepoel – he is going to enjoy the first few stages. He can time trial, he can sprint and he has a very good punch. I fear stage 6 may be the end for him. He did look great in Paris-Nice but in a way, he was worse than I anticipated. He is Jonas’ biggest rival this race.

Roglic – let’s see what kind of magic has happened in the past few weeks. 10th in Paris-Nice was a lot worse than I anticipated but it was his first race with Bora-Hansgrohe. I’d assume it is something that will be fixed eventually but it takes time. I think it will be fair to evaluate his level after stage 6, that is his big test this week.

Vauquelin – I think he can do a top-10.

Skjelmose – I’d assume he is the leader, simply because the route suits him much better than it suits Tao. He finished 4th in Paris-Nice, a very impressive result by him. He will enjoy the time trial, the punchy hills and the potential bonus seconds. Then again, he may crack on stage 6, as he did on stage 8 in France.

I. Izagirre – he always rides well here. A top-10.

Ayuso – he should be the leader for the team but it is no certainty. He was clearly the second best in Tirreno-Adriatico but he was also a level below Vingegaard – that gap was quite large. I think he will enjoy this route more as the climbs are shorter. I’d imagine he can challenge for a podium spot.

C. Rodriguez – a top-10. I hope to see him slowly getting better.

Who will win?

I think stage 6 is difficult enough to see GC hopes get crushed by a certain Dane. I will take a win for Jonas Vingegaard.

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