Itzulia Basque Country: Primož Roglič lays down marker with stage 1 ITT win

Jay Vine second as Bora-Hansgrohe's Slovenian outperforms Jonas Vingegaard and Remco Evenepoel, despite taking a wrong turn towards the end of his ride

Clock15:32, Monday 1st April 2024
Primož Roglič will be delighted with his response to Paris-Nice disappointment

© Getty Images

Primož Roglič will be delighted with his response to Paris-Nice disappointment

Primož Roglič made a blistering statement on the opening day of Itzulia Basque Country, setting a time of 12:34 over the 9.9km-long course to win stage 1. It is the Slovenian's first victory for his new team, Bora-Hansgrohe.

The 34-year-old's win was all the more impressive for the calibre of the field he was up against and the bizarre sight of him taking a wrong turn towards the end of his run.

Behind Roglič, Jay Vine of UAE Team Emirates produced a tremendous ride to take second, seven seconds off the pace of the stage winner, whilst Lidl-Trek's Mattias Skjelmose continued his fine season to finish third.

As for Roglič's major pre-race rivals, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike), the pair finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively. It was a more lowkey display for Vingegaard than his Tirreno-Adriatico time trial, in which the Dane first debuted Giro's new eye-catching TT lid.

As for Evenepoel, the Belgian did not wear Specialized's head sock as part of his TT5 helmet, despite the equipment not being outlawed by the UCI until tomorrow. In his column for Het Nieuwsblad, team boss Patrick Lefevere indicated that the team believed the head sock was banned as of Monday, with Evenepoel revealing as much to Sporza after his ride.

Read more: Specialized 'disappointed' at UCI head sock ban, highlights 18-month delay

"I am just happy! I always enjoy the crowd and the people here and it is a great start of the race," said Roglič after the finish.

"I even missed the finish line at the end but nevertheless, the outcome didn't really change because of that so I am just happy I could take it. It's always like that, that some are in front and some are behind. We have to do our best and see day by day. I just enjoyed it today, but like I say, today was the easiest [stage]."

How the opening day of Itzulia Basque Country unfolded

Most of the day's favourites completed their rides before the onset of live TV coverage, with teams wisely looking to avoid the late afternoon rain that was promised in the Basque city of Irun. However, the day had taken one victim on the morning of the race, with Ineos Grenadiers' Tom Pidcock forced to withdraw as a result of a crash suffered during his recon.

Read more: Tom Pidcock crashes out of Itzulia Basque Country during TT recon

Roglič, Evenepoel and Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) were among the big names to roll down the start ramp long before the cameras began to roll, which made for an entertaining scramble on social media for information on their rides.

Roglič was no doubt the day's biggest winner, producing a sensational ride that averaged 47.75km/h on a somewhat hilly course that included one categorised climb. His performance came as a delight to his fans who had watched him suffer to an unexpectedly low 10th overall at Paris-Nice.

However, it could have been even better for Roglič, had he not taken the race vehicle detour just a few hundred metres from the finish line. Videos of his misfortune showed the Slovenian veering off to the right before having to double back on himself and continue on the intended route uphill to the finish.

Misfortune also befell Evenepoel on his ride, with the world time trial champion sliding out on a right-hand bend just seconds into his time trial. The Belgian thumped the ground in frustration but recovered well to come over the line 11 seconds down on Roglič.

For some time, it appeared as though Evenepoel might finish third on the day behind Skjelmose, who had ridden well to come up just seven seconds shy of Roglič, but Vine performed above expectations to keep up his tradition of pulling surprising TT performances out of the bag. The Australian made TT improvements an object of his winter and it is certainly paying off.

Read more: Jay Vine: If I don't win another race from now on, I'd still be happy

Vine's UAE Team Emirates teammates continued the outfit's impressive performances against the clock in 2024, with Juan Ayuso and GP Miguel Induráin winner Brandon McNulty both placing themselves in the top 15.

Elsewhere, Kévin Vauquelin (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) continued his splendid season with another top-10 finish, whilst Isaac del Toro (UAE Team Emirates), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) and Tao Geoghegan Hart all finished within three seconds of each other to set up an intriguing week of racing in the Basque Country.

Read more: Our official Itzulia Basque Country preview

For the latest news, interviews and analysis from the world of professional cycling, be sure to check out the Racing tab on the GCN website and visit our dedicated race page for Itzulia Basque Country to check out the preview, startlist and more.

Race Results

1

si flag

ROGLIC Primoz

BORA-hansgrohe

12' 34"

2

au flag

VINE Jay

UAE Team Emirates

+ 7"

3

dk flag

SKJELMOSE Mattias

Lidl-Trek

+ 10"

4

be flag

EVENEPOEL Remco

Soudal Quick-Step

+ 11"

5

dk flag

VINGEGAARD Jonas

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

+ 15"

6

fr flag

VAUQUELIN Kévin

ARKEA-B&B HOTELS

+ 16"

7

es flag

AYUSO Juan

UAE Team Emirates

"

8

de flag

SCHACHMANN Max

BORA-hansgrohe

"

9

gb flag

HAYTER Ethan

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 19"

10

es flag

IZAGIRRE Ion

Cofidis

+ 21"

Provided by FirstCycling

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