Itzulia Basque Country 2024 – Stage 3 Preview

Stage 2 saw a reduced bunch sprint as predicted. The weather played a role too, with Tao G. Hart hitting the deck hard. Tomorrow is a difficult stage to predict. It is tougher than today.


A tough start makes it likely we see a strong breakaway. The climbing more or less continues for the first 85 km, before a long flat section. The riders then take a descent to Olaberria (1.6 km at 8%) before the Lizarrusti (6.1 km at 5%) climb. Once again, the bonus seconds will likely have the interest of fast GC men.

The riders head southwest before the lap with Olaberria (1.6 km at 8%) and Lizarrusti (6.1 km at 5%).

The start will be difficult to control. The breakaway should form around here. Bora-Hansgrohe will be tested, as they should be.

And it is not the easiest finale either. Olaberria is too far from the finish for any moves. Lizarrusti shouldn’t be tough enough for any gaps either.

The finale has a late corner, positioning will matter a great deal tomorrow if we see a sprint. It is uphill but not above 4% for 200 meters.


A headwind. Not very optimal for the breakaway but the wind is just 3-4 m/s.

How will the stage unfold?

Who is willing to chase for a sprint? I think INEOS Grenadiers, AG2R and Movistar are the candidates for that. Which GC teams are willing to chase for the sprint? I highly doubt anyone given the finale. It may be the same scenario as today, where they cross the finish line halfway through and it leaves a feeling among the captains, that they can win the sprint. Yet, I doubt it.

So who is willing to test Roglic a bit? I don’t think they can win this team. And I don’t think they will be very happy letting go of the jersey. This is afterall not a Grand Tour. Therefore, the most likely scenario is the sprint.


Paul Lapeira – I better get used to the name. I don’t really know his limits as I skipped the French one-day races a few weeks back. By the looks of it, he is the real deal.

Alex Aranburu – looking good up there today. However, the team was all over the place. They have to try and do better tomorrow, if he is going to win. A podium contender.

Ethan Hayter – likely caught behind the crash, INEOS sat very far down the bunch. I can only imagine he will improve, yet his interviews don’t offer much confidence. Perhaps it is his style and there is no shame in being humble.

Remco Evenepoel – I think they tried to lead him out today. He too sat far back near the end and I guess he decided for the safe option. He is quick enough to challenge for the win. And as I said, technically the stage is tougher tomorrow.

Primoz Roglic – I think the team can control the stage fairly easily. Let a weak breakaway go and take it from there. I hope to them stronger and more coordinated in the finale, they were strecthed thin as a team today.

Juan Ayuso – quick enough to win here. We will see how much effort UAE put into the sprint tomorrow.

Mattias Skjelmose – a top-10 is very likely.

Mauro Schmid – I hope to see him get a top-10 tomorrow.

Samuele Battistella – today was impressive, yet I don’t expect him to improve that result. A top-10.

Isaac del Toro – do they give him the freedom? I doubt it.

Who will win?

I will take a win for Aranburu, he is born and raised not far from here.

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