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Itzulia (4) - Quinten Hermans (9th) : "I will seize every opportunity that comes my way"

Itzulia (4) - Quinten Hermans (9th) : "I will seize every opportunity that comes my way"

More than 100 kilometers were necessary for the fourth stage of the Itzulia Basque Country to settle (2.UWT, 5-10/04). Nobody was indeed able to create the decisive move in the first half of the longest stage of the event (187 km), scheduled between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Hondarribia, despite the many attempts in which Maurits Lammertink and Lorenzo Rota took part.

But the breakaway of four who escaped at kilometer 120 did not last long, because once the slopes of the Alto de Jaizkibel were in sight, the peloton swallowed the advance of the fugitives until they got back on their heels. Quinten Hermans, who occupied second place in the mountain classification this morning (12 pts) behind Tadej Pogacar (13 pts), was the first rider in the peloton atop the Jaizkibel (2nd category), temporarily becoming the holder of the polka dot jersey.

Later, a regrouped peloton tackled the final ascent of the day, the Erlaitz (4km at 10%), whose summit was located 20 kilometers from the finish. A group of six strong men then went out on the descent and managed to keep the pursuit in check, which included the leader of the race Primoz Roglic. Izagirre (Astana) outsprinted this small group to clinch the stage victory. Hermans, who had managed to come back to the Roglic group in the final, dominated the sprint of the pursuit and finished ninth on the stage. He is provisionally 30th in the general classification, and second in the best climber classification, three points behind Pogacar.

Quinten Hermans :
"I’m a happy man today. Astana didn’t seem to fancy an early the breakaway so this stage really turned into a fast one. The first two hours we kept riding 50 km/h and you could see everyone was suffering. I didn’t try to attack early in the race because I knew the last climb, the Erlaitz, was going to be a sufferfest as well. I was curious to know how I was going to perform here, against all those big names. At the end of the Erlaitz I had to let go the GC-favorites but after the top I gave everything to close the again. I had to because I know I can sprint faster than all these lightweight climbers. I still felt strong, wasn’t dead at all. This made me able to finish ninth, not bad at all! I’m happy or myself but also for the whole team. But I’m not quite done here, I want to seize every opportunity to show myself. Either by winning a stage, or by winning one of the side rankings. The polka dot jersey interests me but we all know Pogacar isn’t a bad climber either. To wear this jersey one stage would already be very nice."

Valerio Piva (sports director) :
«Quinten has done a marvelous job today. We planned to wait and to lead him to the final but he also wants to go for the polka dot jersey. That will be tough with an opponent like Pogacar but never say never. Quinten is not only strong, he also has a good sprint. He showed this again today by smoothly winning the sprint of his group. We’re aiming for good stage results with him before he will ride the coming classics. We look forward to those since it’s clear his training camp at Tenerife  has worked out so well. Quinten is not afraid from a little suffering and who has all the capacities that are needed to be an excellent WorldTour rider."


Stage 4 :
1.Ion Izagirre 
2.Pello Bilbao 
3.Brandon McNulty
9.Quinten Hermans +0:49
35.Odd Christian Eiking +5:42
59.Maurits Lammertink +10:00
83.Lorenzo Rota +13:54
107.Georg Zimmermann +18:46
144.Théo Delacroix +20:46
151.Alexander Evans

Provisional GC :
1.Brandon McNulty
2.Primoz Roglic +0:23
3.Jonas Vingegaard +0:28
30.Quinten Hermans +4:52
34.Odd Christian Eiking +10:35
49.Lorenzo Rota +17:57
52.Maurits Lammertink +18:44
100.Georg Zimmermann +30:57
153.Théo Delacroix +46:54
157.Alexander Evans +1:04:11