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Verona spends the day in the breakaway before Haig takes 15th on the second stage in Pais Vasco

Tue 3 Apr 2018

The second stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco concluded in a similar fashion to yesterday’s opening stage, with a final steep climb creating the race winning move into Bermeo. 

Carlos Verona spent most of the day in a breakaway, caught with just 10kilometres before the finish line, before Jack Haig fought on over the steep slopes to finish in 15th for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the first chasing group on the road. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) out sprinted three other escapees to take another victory. 

Fast and windy start

The first 40kilometres of the 166kilometre stage was fast and hard with multiple attacks but no breakaway able to form. Suddenly a crosswind section saw the peloton split in to two groups with Michael Albasini, Chris Juul-Jensen, Carlos Verona and Jack Haig present for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the front group.

Shortly after Verona jumped into the main move of the day with 10 other riders which quickly opened up a one minute advantage, meanwhile the two groups behind re-joined to form one chasing peloton.

Final climb decides the race

The breakaway was able to force a maximum advantage of two minutes but hovered most of the day just over one minute ahead. With 25kilometres to go, after the penultimate climb of the day their lead plummeted to just 30seconds. 

Verona took his chances with an attack but was shut down immediately before David Lopez (Team Sky) gained a small advantage and led towards the base of the San Pelaio climb.

A repeat of yesterday

Team Sky and Team Astana led the chase and finally the catch was made just in time for the final steep ascent. As expected, like with yesterday’s stage, attacks came and a quartet of riders led the race home on the descent into Bermeo. Haig fought hard to make his way back into the second chase group on the road and into 15th spot.

 

Jack Haig

“We had a super hard start to the race, Carlos and Chris were trying really hard to make it into the breakaway today, especially Carlos, he was amazingly strong today going into every move possible. It showed, when he finally made the move it probably went in one of the hardest parts of the race."

“We had a bit of rain along the coast and that caused a spit in the peloton early on, we went down one descent with wet roads and the group split into two, luckily we had the majority of the guys in the front split."

“The final climb was again a super steep one, maybe not quite as hard as yesterday but still super tough and the descent down to the finish wasn’t that nice with half dry, half wet roads. I got a little caught up in the last 800metres before the finish line but happy to finish the stage safely and looking forward to hopefully a slightly easier day tomorrow."

“Maybe it is another good day for Carlos or Lucas Hamilton or Rob Power to try and make it into the breakaway and then hoping for a good performance in the time trial the following day.”

Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage two results:

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) 4:11:47
2. Primoz Rogolic (Lotto-Jumbo) ST
3. Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) ST
15. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:15

General classification after stage two:

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) 8:29:13
2. Primoz Rogolic (Lotto-Jumbo) +0:08
3. Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +0:39

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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