Itzulia Basque Country 2024 – Stage 5 Preview

What a rollercoaster. I think a lot of it is due to some fans or sites adding fuel to the fire.


The stage starts flat. Then about halfway, the riders do Urkiola. It will be the hardest climb they’ve done so far. The riders then proceed to do Muniketagaina twice.

Here you have the Urkiola. From the creat, the riders have 77 km to the finish. It is a long way from the line.

The riders ascent Muniketagaina twice. From the crest the first time, there is roughly 38 km left. The second time, merely 13 km left.

This is the last four kilometers. The profile is bugging out a bit, as the riders have to go through a tunnel.


The riders have a tailwind for the opening 60 km. I’d expect a big fight to get in the breakaway. The headwind on Urkiola will not matter too much. On the circuit, they have a tailwind on the climb and a tailwind after it. I think that speaks in favor of the breakaway, as they can keep their advantage more easily on the climb.

How will the stage unfold?

This is your classic breakaway vs sprinters stage. Had Urkiola been closer to the finish line, it may have played a larger role. I think most riders are contend with getting through this stage as easily as possible. Both due to yesterday’s crashes and more importantly to save their matches for stage 6.

As for LIDL-Trek, they have to decide if they want to keep the jersey. If the breakaway is fairly weak, and they know the riders up there will not be among the best for stage 6, I would hand the jersey over. Stage 6 is not the type of stage where you want to defend a jersey. It is all about monitoring who gets in the breakaway. The start is flat, and it likely means it will be rouleurs.

Movistar, Intermarché and INEOS still all want their sprint. With a bit of help from LIDL-Trek or Alpecin-Deceuninck, they may be able to secure it. On the other hand, Visma-Lab, Soudal Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe now all are without their captain. It gives all of their riders a carte blanche.


Hayter – it is his last chance at taking a result here. 9th and 6th here is less than what I expected from him. I’d imagine he will finish top-10.

Aranburu – 5th and 3rd. He is getting closer and closer. It is difficult not to cheer for the local rider. He is climbing well just now and he has the sprint to contest for a stage win. He just needs to start his sprint later as we have a headwind today.

Lapeira – His stage win didn’t come from out of nowhere. It is a stage he should be able to contest, given he has survived tougher stages/races in the past. He should be contesting for a top-3.

Battistella – has the option to go for the sprint or the breakaway. In any case, I like his chances today.

Q. Hermans – I had forgot how good he was back in 2022. If he is back at that level, he will contest for a top-5 today.

De Pretto – top-10.

Nikias Arndt – breakaway or sprint? It is a good looking stage for him. Had this stage been in a Grand Tour, many of us would look to him as a breakaway rider.

P. Sanchéz – he has been quiet this race. He is a solid breakaway option.

Bob Jungels – no Primoz means the diesel is allowed in the morning breakaway.

Oscar Onley – the last climb reminds me an awful lot about Willunga Hill. I hope to see him getting a top result from the breakaway.

Who will win?

I will take a win from Battistella. It can both be from the breakaway or a reduced bunch sprint.

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