2022 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 1 Preview

Hondarribi 7.5km ITT

The race begins with a short TT, one that doesn’t contain much flat road. The first climb starts after 1.5km of the effort, it is 1.44km at 3.8%, but the opening 600m does average 8%. Once the climb has been crested, and the KOM jersey is given out, there is a fast descent which ends with 3km left. In this section there are two climbs: 400m at 4.5% and 250m at 7%. Given the amount of climbing in just 7.5km, this is a tough TT.

Weather

Cloudy sun and the wind will be the same for all.

Contenders

Primož Roglič – was only beaten by Van Aert in the Paris-Nice TT, this is a stage he should like. Last year he won the opening TT, he’ll be confident of challenging for another win this year. 

Jonas Vingegaard – 3rd last year in the TT, it’s a discipline he normally shines in. He was disappointed with his effort in Tirreno, I think that was just a blip for him, he should be challenging to win this stage.

Remco Evenepoel – won the TT in the Algarve and was second to Ganna in Tirreno, it’s been a good start to the year on his TT bike. This is a route that suits his characteristics, he should be the most powerful on the short climbs. Given his recent record, he’ll start as the favourite to win the day.

Remi Cavagna – too hilly for him to win but should still be challenging for a good spot in the top 10.

Andreas Leknessund – he was very strong in this discipline in his under 23 days, but he’s yet to deliver on the big stage. The punchy climbs should suit him very well, this should be the day where we see him land a big result.

Pierre Latour – a solid contender for the top 5. His 6th place in GP Miguel Indurain shows that his legs are good, he’ll sense a chance of challenging for the win.

Julian Alaphilippe – it’s a good route for him, the punchy hills are perfect for him to stay close to the big TT engines. 

Dani Martínez – good on a TT bike and he can climb, that makes him a contender for the stage. I don’t see him winning, but he’s one of many who’ll be challenging for the podium.

Prediction Time

It’s Remco versus the Jumbo boys, I don’t see anyone else getting close. I’ll take a win for Remco Evenepoel.

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