Ion Izagirre battles to seventh place on Tour de Romandie queen stage
It was a battle of attrition on stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie with freezing temperatures, rain, and snow providing the backdrop to the queen stage. Ion Izagirre crossed the line in seventh place after a General Classification showdown on the summit finish to Thyon 2000.
The Basque rider moved up to seventh place overall, 48 seconds behind stage winner and new race leader Mike Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation).
“Well, I don’t know if it was the hardest stage I have done this year, but it was very hard, especially because of the weather as it was really cold. It rained all day, especially in the second part, but the last descent was really hard because we were freezing. It was so cold that I couldn’t feel anything, my legs, my hands, anything. On the last climb, I did everything that my body allowed me to and we tried to be as far forward as possible. I’m happy with the result. We will see what happens with the time trial tomorrow. I’ll do everything I can to do the best result possible,” said Ion Izagirre.
The queen stage featured five categorized climbs, including three category one climbs, but as expected, it all came down to the final ascent, where the last surviving breakaway riders were caught. The Kazakh – Canadian team did a solid job of protecting team leader Ion Izagirre all day to set him up for the final climb where he showed strong form in the tough conditions as the bunch reduced significantly in size.
Izagirre put in a determined ride as part of a six-rider chase group behind three riders who held a 30-second advantage approaching the last three kilometres. Despite an attack from Izagirre, the group was unable to catch the leading trio and up ahead, Woods took the win. Izagirre crossed the line in seventh place, 42 seconds behind Woods in what was a brutal day of racing ahead of the final 16-kilometre time trial in Fribourg.
Gorka Izagirre was involved in a crash halfway through the race but was fortunate to escape without any major injuries, suffering road rash on his arm and hip but was thankfully able to finish the race.
Tour de Romandie
Sion > Thyon 2000 (161.3KM)
Top 3: 1. Mike Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), 2. Ben O’Connor (AG2R La Mondiale), 3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)
Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 7. Ion Izagirre, 26. Gorka Izagirre, 57. Javier Romo