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

Ion Izagirre sprints to strong second place on demanding Tour de France stage 8 – Astana

Ion Izagirre sprints to strong second place on demanding Tour de France stage 8

Ion Izagirre narrowly missed the stage win on stage eight of the Tour de France, battling until the very end to cross the line in second place from a three-man sprint behind the solo stage winner.

With an uphill start and three category one ascents in the finale, the stage was suited to a breakaway which made for a huge fight at the beginning of the stage. Finally, after countless moves were brought back, Izagirre managed to make it into the breakaway of the day which went on to gain more than five minutes on the peloton.

Multiple riders tried their luck with attacks from the breakaway as torrential rain continued to fall, conditions which suited Basque rider Izagirre. As the breakaway split up, Izagirre dug deep and formed part of a small chase group behind Mike Woods, who was leading the race solo in the final 35 kilometres.

Izagirre attacked from the chase group and was joined by Dylan Teuns in what would be the winning move with the Belgian overtaking Izagirre and catching Woods ahead. Behind, Alexey Lutsenko showed strong form in the reduced General Classification group which remained four minutes behind on the penultimate climb.

“It was a difficult day. I was chasing full gas on the final climb and then Pogacar came from the back too. Today, Teuns showed that he was the strongest guy. I’m sad because I made a big mistake today to take a rain jacket at the top of one of the climbs. I missed the first group and dropped and on the next climb I spent a lot of energy to come back,” said Izagirre.

Izagirre continued to chase behind Teuns and was joined by new race leader Tadej Pogacar at the top of the final climb, with the duo catching Woods on the descent. The trio was unable to catch Teuns but the Basque rider left it all on the road and with 200 metres to go, launched his sprint to secure second place.

“Although I’m disappointed to miss the win today, I’m happy with my form and missing out like this will make me motivated to try again. It was a really hard day with the climbing and the weather so I know I can be happy with my ride today,” added Izagirre.

Lutsenko’s perseverance saw him cross the line in a select GC group four minutes down on Teuns which sees the Kazakh rider move up to an amazing third place on the overall ranking.

Unfortunately, Stefan De Bod crashed in the last 40 kilometres of the race but was fortunate to escape any serious injuries and was able to finish the stage.

Race Profile

Tour de France

Stage 8: Oyonnax > Le Grand-Bornand (150.8km)

Top 3: 1. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious), 2. Ion Izagirre, 3. Mike Woods (Israel Start Up Nation)

Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 2. Ion Izagirre, 11. Alexey Lutsenko, 29. Jakob Fuglsang

Photo: Getty Images

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.com