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Itzulia Basque Country leader Primož Roglič once again haunted by crash

Itzulia Basque Country leader Primož Roglič once again haunted by crash

Primož Roglič is one of the greatest riders of the 21st century, his accomplishments myriad. But one can’t help to wonder if he’d have 100 wins instead of 81 wins if he just wasn’t so snakebit by crashes throughout his career. On Wednesday’s third stage of the 63rd Itzulia Basque Country, race leader Roglič suffered his first wreck of the year, a hard one 40 km from the finish line, and for 14 kilometers it seemed possible that he’d lose his race lead. But he survived to see Quinten Hermans carry the day for Alpecin-Deceuninck.

Hermans tallies first win since 2022.

The Course

After only one categorized climb on Tuesday, Wednesday’s route contained two Cat. 2 and two Cat. 3 climbs in the first half of 190.9 km. Two more climbs came near the end, the final ascent, a Cat. 2 of 6.3 km at 5.2 percent, cresting 9 km from the finish line.

It was the kind of day where a rider might fancy himself taking over the King of the Mountains jersey. Jetse Bol, a Tuesday fugitive, was wearing it for race leader Roglič. Bol did get some points in the first Cat. 2, but he wasn’t in the day’s breakaway. A trio consisting of a Frenchman, a Belgian and a Uruguayan were the day’s rabbits. Alan Jousseaume took maximum KOM points atop Usategieta Gaina and Uitzi, and scored second on Zuarrarte to take over the classification. As it headed towards the fifth climb, a Kiwi bridged over to the breakaway.

Ineos seize the controls in the peloton, so the breakaway was caught after the penultimate climb. With 40 km remaining, Roglič crashed with a few others and it took the tattered man 14 km to latch onto the peloton before Cat. 2 Lizarrusti.

Louis Meintjes, who had scored maximum KOM points on the day’s first climb, decided to go for it on Lizarrusti. He grabbed six points and yanked the classification away from Jousseaume.

South African Meintjes attacks on the final climb.

Satisfied, the Intermarché-Wanty rider relented. Lidl-Trek, Soudal-Quick Step and Visma-Lease a Bike all turned the screws…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…