Tough Day for BMC Racing Team on Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 12. April 2018, Zarautz (ESP) — Road Team
Bad luck struck BMC Racing Team on the opening day of racing at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco with Damiano Caruso caught in a crash before a fast finale which saw a number of splits on the finish line.
The day’s breakaway went clear almost as soon as the flag dropped on stage 1 and by the time the race reached the bottom of the first of five categorized climbs, after around 50km of racing, the four leaders were four minutes ahead of the main bunch.
Over the next 20km, the leaders’ advantage hovered around the three-minute mark before a sharp increase in pace on the approach to the Maddiola climb saw the peloton quickly pull them back to 1’45” with 85km of racing still to come.
With the gap down to just 30 seconds, riders began to attack off the front of the bunch and by the time the race reached the summit of the climb, the now six-rider front group was starting to pull its advantage back out to over a minute.
The peloton was trailing the five remaining leaders by more than two minutes heading into the final 45km of the day and as a result, the chase began to heat up once again.
On the slopes of the penultimate climb up to Aia the gap was falling quickly and in the end, a strung-out peloton went over the top and onto the fast descent all together with a little over 22km to go.
The race saved potentially the toughest climb for last with the top of the category 2 Elkano Gaina, which had a gradient that touched 20% in parts, coming with just under 7km to go.
It was a chaotic run into the base of the final climb with Caruso unfortunately caught in the crossfire, crashing into a parked car and losing touch with the main General Classification contenders. An update is provided below.
Up ahead, the gradient took its toll almost immediately and a series of attacks saw the bunch split into various groups with Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Primož Roglič (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) drawn out of the front of the race.
With 5km to go, the leading duo was sitting 25 seconds ahead of the first chasing group and they eventually went on to battle for the stage win with Alaphilippe taking the day’s honors.
Dylan Teuns continued to push hard on the final climb and was riding as part of the second chasing group however after being caught behind another crash he lost position in the closing kilometers before crossing the line as BMC Racing Team's best-placed rider, 1'56" back.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“I feel good now. In the final, before the last climb, it was really chaotic. There were cars on the side of the road and I hit a side mirror of one of the cars with my shoulder. It was really painful at the time but it doesn’t seem to be broken or anything like that. Now I have lost the chance to go for the General Classification. Tomorrow, a new race starts. I’m still motivated and feeling good. Now we will change the goal for the remaining stages."
“Today was a real shock to the system. Obviously, I haven’t raced for some time now as I’ve been sick but the sensations at the start were good. I just didn’t have it on the second to last climb. It’s not a big surprise for me though and come Saturday I hope my legs are feeling better.”
“It was definitely a tough stage and the weather was quite warm, although we’re not going to complain about that as it was nice. At the moment my eyes are firmly set on Tour de Romandie and trying to defend that.”
“All in all, it was disappointing to see what happened to Damiano. He is obviously in great form and he didn’t deserve what happened to him today. We will now just have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“It was a difficult stage but we have good riders here and it was clear at the start that Damiano Caruso was our leader and Dylan Teuns wanted to try for the stage as well. Everyone was ok until the last climb when Damiano collided with a car with his shoulder. It was painful and he had to drop back. Dylan had to change his bike before the second to last climb and he had to chase back to the bunch so spent a lot of energy doing that. On the last climb, he was in the second group but somebody crashed in front of him causing him to unclip and put a foot on the ground, losing his momentum. Today was really not our day. We need to refocus now and look at the stages ahead. The General Classification won’t be possible now so we will look every day for stage wins. The race is not finished."
Dr. Giovanni Ruffini:
"Damiano hit his shoulder when he crashed into the parked car and after examination, it looks like he may have dislocated that upon impact. However, now it is okay. He does have a contusion but the pain is going down. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation but at the moment, he will be able to continue racing."
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
Stage 1: Zarautz > Zarautz, 162.1km
Top 3: 1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Primož Roglič (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 3. Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 39. Dylan Teuns 58. Alessandro De Marchi 73. Danilo Wyss