Vuelta al Pais Vasco Stage 1: Nail-biting Bunch Sprint4. April 2016, Markina-Xemein (ESP) — Road Team
Stage 1 of Vuelta al Pais Vasco was a tough one with eight categorized climbs over the 144km course. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) took the win in a nail-biting sprint to the line as the peloton, which featured Sanchez and Darwin Atapuma, came storming home.
Quotes of the Day
It is my first time racing at Vuelta al Pais Vasco but it wasn’t too bad out there today. I think it could have been much worse with the weather. The weather was quite ok, some small showers but nothing too serious and it wasn’t too cold, so we were lucky.
There were a lot of climbs but I had done my homework coming into the race so I knew what to expect. For sure it was hard but that is normal when you have so many meters of climbing in a short stage like that. I feel like I’m well prepared for the next stages so we’ll take it day by day.
It was a hard stage and definitely a stage for the General Classification. There were only 35 or 40 riders in the first group and we had Samuel Sanchez and Darwin Atapuma in there. The last climb was really fast and a lot of guys got dropped. It’s the first race in a while for some of the guys like Silvan Dillier and Amaël Moinard.
The priority for us was to have Samuel in the first group and it was good to see Darwin up there with him. Luckily we didn’t have anyone crash. Now that there is a gap in the GC, we will look to get into a breakaway and go for a stage win, as well as keeping Samuel up there.
Stage 1 Profile:
Etxebarria › Markina-Xemein (144k)
8 categorized climbs
Top 3: Luis Leon Sancez (Astana), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE)