Grmay goes in the break before Yates attacks and takes 4th on a rainy stage in Itzulia

Thu 11 Apr 2019

Briton Adam Yates claimed fourth place today on stage four Itzulia Pais Vasco, after attacking and breaking away with three other riders on the final climb of the day, before contesting the victory from a four-up sprint.

Mitchelton-SCOTT animated much of the stage with Tsgabu Grmay spending most of the day in the breakway before the team led the chase and set the tempo to set Yates up for his attack.

In the end, it proved to be another day for the race leader Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) who won the race sprint to give him his third stage victory of the race.

Cold conditions and a fast start

The riders were welcomed by rain and cold conditions for the fourth stage and a hard pace pace was set from the word go. Eventually after 30kilometres of racing, a group of seven-riders including Grmay, broke away and gained an advantage of over one-minute.

Leading the chase

The breakaway continued ahead gaining a maximum advantage of four-minutes, and with just over 40kilometres remaining the race headed up a first category climb, Bikotz Gane, where two-riders attacked away from the leading group.

Soon after it was job done for Grmay as the pace picked up behind and gradually the other remaining breakaway riders were all caught on the ascent.

The weather started to deteriorated with the rain pouring down as Mitchelton-SCOTT led the chase, and on the descent the duo out front held onto a small advantage of just 40seconds.

Grmay continued his hard work for the day, heading back to the front of the peloton with his teammates Micheal Albasini and Lucas Hamilton and they led the chase until finally, with 12kilometres to go, ahead of the final third category climb, the breakaway was swallowed up.

Yates attacks

Once the break was caught the team continued to keep a high pace to avoid any further attacks before Nick Schultz and Hamilton set a furious pace on the steep slopes of the climb to set up Yates.

The brit made the race winning attack with three kilometres to go, successfully breaking away with three other riders. However, unable to shake them off, Yates was left to contest the stage victory from a sprint between the group of four.

Adam Yates

"We had horrific weather conditions all day but again we did a good race, Tsgabu managed to get himself in the break in what could have been a real opportunity but unfortunately Bora didn’t want to give them any breathing room.

"On days like this most people are just happy to get to the finish in one piece but we haven’t got many opportunities left, so we decided to take it up towards to final and give it a nudge even if the stage didn’t really suit us.

"In the end there were a couple of fast guys still there and I didn’t really have the legs in the sprint because it was a pretty tough day and when it’s cold like today, sometimes you just feel blocked and can’t push like you want to.

"Tomorrow’s stage probably suits me the best out of the whole week so hopefully I can have good legs and that the weather is a little better than today."

Julian Dean - Sport Director

“It was really hard conditions today, sometimes when you have these cold conditions it’s better to be a little more proactive, everybody’s cold and it is good to have specific tasks and to be active in the race, that was our goal.

“We wanted to try and put some of the other riders under pressure and try to get some time back on the classification and maybe have a go at the stage win. We didn’t benefit as much as we had hoped but you don’t know unless you give these things a go.

“Tomorrow’s stage is definitely our best stage to go for a stage win, it is sort of the Queen stage of the race and we finish up the same climb every year so it is pretty well known.” 

Itzulia Pais Vasco - Stage 4 Results:

1. Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:03:55
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE) ST
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) +0:01
4. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Itzulia Pais Vasco - General Classification after Stage 4:

1. Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 12:38:16
2. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:51
3. Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team) +0:52
10. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:38

Photos courtesy of Getty Images