Perfectly launched by Remco Evenepoel in the last bump, Julian Alaphilippe didn’t give his opponents a chance during the 2nd stage of the Tour of the Basque Country and he signed his first success of the season ahead of Fabien Doubey and Quinten Hermans. Primoz Roglic remains leader.
The peloton played with fire, but it was Julian Alaphilippe who dealt the blows. At the end of a 2nd stage marked by a breakaway river and a lack of control over the peloton, the double world champion puts an end to long months of scarcity.
It didn’t take long for this 208km stage between Leitza and Viana to come alive. A 100% Spanish quartet consisting of Julen Amezqueta, Ander Okamika, Ibai Azurmendi and Ibon Ruiz followed closely behind. The peloton, led by the Jumbo-Visma team of classification leader Primoz Roglic, let go and the break could take up to almost five minutes in advance.
It was at the start of the final 80 kilometers that the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl formation set out to gradually narrow the gap. But, back to a minute and a half with 25 kilometers to go, the peloton lowered the sails, allowing the lead quartet to catch some air, the gap was fixed at two minutes with a lead of about fifteen kilometers at the finish.
Sensing a shot was possible, Ibon Ruiz isolated himself at the front of the race, with his three former friends looking each other in the eye, provoking the ire of their respective sports directors in the cars.
—Itzulia Basque Country (@ehitzulia) Apr 5, 2022
Alaphilippe perfectly launched by Evenepoel
In retrospect, panic seemed to get the peloton in its grip, which still pointed a good distance from the front of the race with the AG2R-Citroën formation cracking the first and starting to roll in front of its sprinter Andrea Vendrame. An insufficient pace to quickly return to the leading group and avoid some skirmishes that turned out to be without consequences. In the final five kilometers the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team took responsibility and, under the impulse of Remco Evenepoel, Ibon Ruiz saw his raid end 500 meters from the finishat the foot of the last bump and its slopes of 6%.
A playground that turned out to be ideal for Julian Alaphilippe. Rainbow sweater on the shoulders, the native of Saint-Amand-Montrond put in his efforts in the last 200 meters to take his first victory since… his second world champion title and the first for his team since… the first stage of the 2021 Tour de France in Landerneau. A success that Remco Evenepoel celebrated by crossing the finish line triumphant well ahead of his teammate. Fabien Doubey followed his compatriot well and took second place for Quinten Hermans. Warm in the peloton, with a 13th place, Primoz Roglic retains the leader’s jersey ahead of Remco Evenepoel and Rémi Cavagna.
CYCLING – UCI WORLD TOUR / TOUR OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY
2nd stage – Leitza-Viana (208km) – Tuesday 5 April 2022
1- Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) in 5:04’35”
2- Fabien Doubey (FRA/TotalEnergies) mt
3- Quinten Hermans (BEL/Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materials) mt
4- Hugo Houle (CAN/Israel-Premier Tech) mt
5- Orluis Aular (VEN/Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) mt
6- Gotzon Martin (ESP/Euskaltel-Euskadi) mt
7- Adam Yates (GBR/Ineos Grenadiers) mt
8- David Gaudu (FRA/Groupama-FDJ) mt
9- Remco Evenepoel (BEL/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) mt
10- Maxim Van Gils (BEL/Lotto-Soudal) mt
General classification after 2 stages (out of 6)
1- Primoz Roglic (SLO / Jumbo-Visma) in 5h14’23”
2- Remco Evenepoel (BEL/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) on 5”
3- Rémi Cavagna (FRA/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) on 16”
4- Geraint Thomas (GBR / Ineos Grenadiers) at 18”
5- Adam Yates (GBR / Ineos Grenadiers) at 18”
6- Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS/Bora-Hansgrohe) at 18”
7- Bruno Armirail (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 20”
8- Ion Izagirre Insausti (ESP / Cofidis) at 20”
9- Jonas Vingegaard (DAN/Jumbo-Visma) at 20”
10– Ben Tulett (GBR / Ineos Grenadiers) at 21”