Ion Izagirre dug deep on the first Pyrenees stage to take yet another top result on the brutal Tour de France stage 15 – Astana

Ion Izagirre dug deep on the first Pyrenees stage to take yet another top result on the brutal Tour de France stage 15

Basque rider Ion Izagirre showed great form yet again by riding at the front of the race on the first Pyrenees day to take a great fourth place after 191 brutal kilometres, to miss the podium by just centimetres.


The last stage before the rest day and final week of the Tour de France delivered a big mountain stage, featuring the highest peak in this year’s edition, the Port d’Envalira at 2408 metres.

From the drop of the flag, the peloton fought to create a breakaway with Ion Izagirre amongst the attacking riders. After some kilometres of racing a large group consisting of 30 riders pulled away, with Izagirre representing the Kazakh-Canadian team.

The breakaway, which featured many stronger climbers, opened up an ample gap of more than eight minutes over the peloton on their way to the Pyrenees in Andorra. Meanwhile, Izagirre’s teammate Alexey Lutsenko found himself next to the yellow jersey and rode yet another amazing race to defend his place on the overall ranking.

Tackling the penultimate ascent of the race, the highest point in this year’s edition, the 10.8 kilometre long and 5.8% in average steep climb, saw the race come alive. Several attacks were launched and Ion Izagirre was able to hold the pace until later stage winner Sepp Kuss made his decisive move. The Basque rider stayed in one of the chasing groups near the soloist at the front, while Alexey Lutsenko was limit his time loss.

The last climb of the day before the descent towards the finish line in Andorra la Vella, saw a battle between youth and experience, as Sepp Kuss was able to hold off former World Champion Alejandro Valverde to take the stage win, while Ion Izagirre missed out the podium by centimetres in the sprint from the chasing group.

Five minutes later Alexey Lutsenko crossed the line among the other top ten GC riders and moved up to seventh place on the overall ranking ahead of the final week of the Tour de France.

We knew today’s stage would be a hard and long day, especially as we are already stage 15 of the Tour de France. We decided that I would go in the breakaway, which wasn’t easy at all to get into but I managed it and was in the big break. We followed the Groupama FDJ pace, as they had quite a good pace with the whole team, as they rode for Gaudu. On the second to last climb, there were some attacks and I tried to follow but on the last climb, the race lit up and the fight for the stage win started. I tried to give my best, but I couldn’t do more in the end and took fourth place. I am still happy with my place and performance, of course we wanted to do better but we will look forward to the final week and try again to finally take a stage win., says Ion Izagirre



Race Profile

Tour de France

Stage 15: Céret > Andorra la Vella (191.3km)

Top 3: Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma); 2.Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar); 3.Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious)

Astana – Premier Tech Top 3: 4. Ion Izagirre; 27. Alexey Lutsenko; 55. Jakob Fuglsang



— nadine Pfeffer to www.astanapremiertech.com

Brown digs deep for fifth place in thrilling La Course finale – Team BikeExchange

Vuleta a Burgos stage winner Grace Brown dug deep as she sprinted to fifth place in a relentless and thrilling edition of La Course by le Tour de France.

The punishing 107km race burst into life inside the final 40km as Spanish climber Ane Santesteban made it into a strong 13-rider group on the Cote de la Fosse aux Loups climb.

The peloton eventually reacted to the move on the following ascent of the climb as a reduced bunch bridged across to the attackers on the lower slopes. A fresh attack was then launched over the top, with Brown quick to react as she followed the wheels to make up part of a 12-rider escape group.

As the bell rang out of the last lap the group held an advantage of 45 seconds, but with no cooperation amongst the leaders the gap soon began to fall. The catch was eventually made with 4km to go as Team BikeExchange moved to the front with Australian champion Sarah Roy leading into the foot of the final climb.

Attacks were launched immediately with Brown once again amongst a select group to edge off the front of the pack. Several riders then attempted to go solo in the closing metres, but the day ultimately came down to a nervous and cagey sprint for the line with Brown fighting to fifth place behind winner Demi Vollering.

Grace Brown:
“It was an exciting race, right from the start the pace was super high in the peloton. We had Ane in a break when we first hit the circuit and then I followed another move which stayed away until the final ascent to the finish line.

Roy gave us a great lead out, but I probably made a mistake trying to follow an attack by Tiff Cromwell at the start of the climb. In the end I didn’t quite have the kick I needed to contest the sprint.”

Alejandro González-Tablas (Sports Director):
“It was a pretty good day, the girls rode really well as a team and they all had their opportunity to be in breakaways and we had Ane there covering an important moves as we came onto the local laps.

The Grace made it into another break and she tried to play it a little bit cool knowing the group was coming from behind. In the end she was just missing the legs a little bit after make some efforts that we could have avoided.

But in the end it went to plan and we achieved the goals that we set for this race, so we are happy and full of confidence going into the Giro.”

2021 La Course – Results:
1. Demi Vollering 2:59:29
2. Cecillie Uttrup Ludwig ST
3. Marianne Vos ST
5. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) ST

Photo Courtesy of Getty Sport.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com