Ion Izaguirre wins stage 4 as Brandon McNulty takes over race lead
American Brandon McNulty grabbed the leader's jersey from Primož Roglic when his team released him from domestique duties
A breakaway of five riders including Brandon McNulty (UAE-Team Emirates) went all the way to the finish as team leader Tadej Pogacar let him loose to take over the general classification lead.
“For sure we were aiming for the stage win without thinking too much about the leader’s jersey,” McNulty said. “I feel good and ready to face the last two stages. Tomorrow could be another tricky stage, and Saturday will be an epic day. We’ll do our best to defend the leader’s jersey.”
At the end of a hilly stage that had two category 3 climbs, a category two climb, and then a category1 climb before a flat run-in to the finish, a select group broke away from the main peloton of GC contenders.
In a final sprint from the breakaway Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech) finished just ahead of Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) at the finish line on stage 4 of the 2021 Itzulia Basque Country.
Bilbao is now fourth in the general classification, just 36 seconds behind of McNulty.
“I was sure Pello (Bilbao) had won and when I saw him celebrating I congratulated him,” Izagirre said. “But then they told me I’d won in fact, so I feel incredible.”
With a late-launch sprint in the final 300m, Izagirre, racing in his home region took top honors by a wheel-width.
VIDEO: 2021 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 4 Highlights
2021 Itzulia Basque Country Stage 4 Top 10
1 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 4:17:07
2 Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
3 Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
4 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
5 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange 0:00:02
7 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:49
8 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep
9 Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
2021 Itzulia Basque Country GC after Stage 4 Top 10
1 Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 12:25:21
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:23
3 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:28
4 Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:36
5 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:43
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:02
7 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:07
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:13
9 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:15
10 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:23