Nieve & Grmay make the move before Nieve sprints to fourth in GP Miguel Indurain

Sat 6 Apr 2019

Local Basque rider Mikel Nieve made the main move in today’s one-day race GP Miguel Indurain before attacking the final and sprinting into fourth place for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Nieve found himself alongside teammate Tsgabu Grmay in a select group of 20riders which formed in the final 40kilometres of the race, before an attack with two kilometres to go proved to be the winning move by Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie), as he held on for a solo victory.

The first breakaway

With 193km on the day’s menu a group of eight-riders formed the first breakaway of the day and jumped out to lead of just over two-minutes.

The first half of the race was rolling, undulating terrain but with no main categorised climbs the peloton were easily able to keep the leaders within striking distance.

A short pause

As the breakaway riders were almost all swallowed up and a new group was about to form at the base of first categorised climb, the Alto Guirguillano, but the race dury was forced to neutralise the race after an issue with ambulances on the road after earlier crashes.

The race re-started with 49kilometres to go and fresh new attacks came as the peloton headed up and over the Alto de Lezaun.

Two make the move

Shortly after the re-start, the peloton lined-out as a furious pace was being set and with 40km to go Nieve and Grmay made in into a front split of 20riders. Schultz unfortunately suffered a puncture as the move was forming and as the peloton began to split up as they navigated around twisty narrow country roads.

The attacks kept coming from the front group, but despite their efforts, no riders were able to get away. With six kilometres remaining Nieve put in a big attack, gained a slight advantage, but was unable to stay away.

It wasn’t until the final steep climb with 2.5kilometres to go when the elastic snapped and Hivert was able to breakaway and just hold on to take the victory ahead of the chase with Nieve sprinting into fourth place behind for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Mikel Nieve

"It was a pretty hectic race once we got the in mountains, a lot of attacking and nobody was controling. The team made a good job being in all the moves and Tsgabu and I, we had good luck going into the right one.

"I felt pretty good all day so in the final I tried to make it hard but it was not possible to go. Anyway I'm happy to be in the mix and it gives me confidence for the next week."

Gene Bates - Sport Director

“We deliberately kept the plan quite open today, we thought Lucas Hamilton coming off a win recently and Nick Schultz having finished third here last year were in good shape, so we wanted to give everybody an opportunity to race.

“We had Nick in the front group and that was when they neutralised the race and I think that really changed the shaped of the race when they re-started at the base of the category two climb. Nick punctured just when the group was starting to go away with Grmay and Nieve, otherwise I think we would have been in there.

“Overall I think the guys rode really well today. It was a good hit out for the guys going into Pais Vasco and certainly Mikel, I think he can be confident with the way he rode today, being really active coming into the final and then just missed out on the podium. I think he can be super happy going into the race next week.”

GP Miguel Indurain Results:
1. Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) 4:47:56
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) +0:09
3. Sergio Higuita (Fundación Euskadi) ST
4. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Photos courtesy of Getty Images