The six-day race in Itzulia and a hilly Basque country finished with the decisive queen stage on top of Arrate. It was an open finale until the last few kilometres. Pello Bilbao finished 6th today and 5th in general classification with one stage win on stage three.
Pello Bilbao commented on today’s stage and overall race: “The most important thing was the team spirit from the beginning until today. Today Gino did a fantastic job. On the first climb in Arrate, I didn’t have the best legs to follow the rhythm of the front group, but I knew that with the help of Gino and knowing a technical descent in the middle, I could join the front of the group again. I did like that, and when I arrived back to the group, I attacked in the front to make another selection. We collaborated quite well, but Remco (Quick-Step) and Daniel (Ineos) did a good job. They came back. In the last climb, with Gino’s help, I gave everything, but Ion (Cofidis) was stronger than me. Congrats to the guys on the podium. I am satisfied with the all week of racing and my performance.”
Sports Director Neil Stephens, satisfied after the entire race, commented: ”It’s been a fantastic six days of racing, full of emotions. We have been fighting for the stage wins and the whole week to get on the final podium. Obviously, the week’s highlight was Pello’s stage win on stage 3. But even today, at one moment, we were virtual leaders on GC. There were crashes, attacks, and all sorts of things. And unfortunately, Pello couldn’t go that far to the final breakaway once again. With a small crash in front of him, he lost a distance, and that was it. That was the last bit of energy he had spent. Unfortunately, we finished off the podium. But we are satisfied with racing. It was a fantastic day again. Everyone tried hard, everyone supported us well, all the staff, the riders, and great. I am satisfied, stage win, 5th overall, it was a satisfying week.”
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Sprintcycling @TeamBahrainVictorious)
— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com