• Primoz Roglic (yellow) defended his position on the final stage of the Itzulia Basque Country Tour. (Getty)Source: Getty
Primoz Roglic crashed then held off Mikel Landa to claim victory in the Itzulia Basque Country Tour following the final stage, won by Enric Mas.
By
Cycling Central

8 Apr 2018 - 5:52 AM  UPDATED 8 Apr 2018 - 8:59 AM

Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo)  crashed early in the stage then fought hard to minimise any loss of his almost two-minute lead on main general classification rival Mikel Landa (Movistar).

He finished eighth on the stage to lose 40 seconds to an attacking Landa and won by more than a minute overall.

“This was tougher than I and the team expected beforehand," Roglic said. “Unfortunately I crashed hard, just after the neutral start. I have abrasions, but all in all it is not too bad.

"From that moment on, other teams went full gas and the race was on. It was difficult to get back in the front. The team has done an excellent job. I am very proud and grateful.

"In the end it was mainly a game of poker and I tried to not give them any impressions of how I felt on the bike. On the final climb, I knew that I had secured the overall win because the climb was not too long. This was the main goal and I succeeded.

"In the future, I hope to win even more of such great stage races and who knows one day I can also do well in a Grand Tour.” 

Mas, (Quick-Step Floors), earned his first ever victory as a professional on the 122km stage from Eibar to Arrate, finishing 12sec ahead of Landa and Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida).

"We still tried to go on the attack against Roglic at the Ixua climb, but he was able to follow our moves quickly," Landa said.

"We weren't really able to drop him and we saw there our chances to win the race were slim. I even attempted to jump from the bunch at the descent before San Miguel.

"It was a twisty section, quite dangerous, I saw Rojas a few meters ahead and didn't want to miss that chance. After that, it was mainly about the stage win. It's awful to get so close and still don't win."

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