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by Shane Stokes
April 4, 2018
Alaphillipe wins again in Itzulia Basque Country; Dyball wins stage 3 of Tour of Thailand; Jules wins opening stage of Circuit Cycliste Sarthe; Bouhanni suffers another setback; ASO ranks Roubaix cobbles; Hammer Series adds Hong Kong event; The fittest human ever quit sports, found happiness; Astral Cycling expands rim catalogue with wheelsets; Video: After the race: Bikes that survived the Tour of Flanders
Julian Alaphilippe underlined his storming form when he took his second consecutive stage victory in the Itzulia Basque Country race on Tuesday. He once again outsprinted Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) to the line, with Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) also finishing in the same group. Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe) led in the chase group 15 seconds later.
As was the case on Monday, Alaphilippe and Roglic made their move on the final climb. On this occasion, they were joined by Izagirre and Landa. Roglic again led out the sprint, and Alaphilippe was faster once more.
“It’s crazy,” he said after the finish. “I was already happy with my win on stage one and having the yellow jersey on my shoulders, so to take another victory is just incredible. We’re on a fantastic run of success, we’re winning everywhere and seeing how the team performs only gives us more confidence. Two victories in two days and three jerseys – it’s a great harvest for our squad, but we don’t want to stop here.” The team has taken a run of victories this year, including Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.
The 168 kilometre stage ran from Zarautz to Bermeo and was constantly up and down. After almost two hours, 11 riders finally got clear, but the peloton didn’t give them much space. With 25 kilometres left the gap was down to a minute and this prompted Carlos Verona (Mitchelton – Scott) to leap clear; however David Lopez (Sky) was more successful in breaking the elastic, but he too was reeled in.
On the final climb Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) attacked; he was caught, went again, and was then reeled in by Enric Mas (QuickStep Floors). Alaphilippe then went and was joined by the other three, who went on to dispute the stage win. With time bonuses taken into account, the Frenchman is now eight seconds ahead of Roglic, 39 up on Izagirre and 43 in front of Landa.