At the start of the tough queen stage, Evenepoel’s lead over closest pursuer Martínez was only two seconds. Other favorites in the name of Izagirre, Vlasov, Bilbao and Vingegaard followed after more than 20 seconds. Roglic had been indebted for over a minute. 135 kilometers and seven climbs separated Evenepoel from the overall victory in what he says is “the world’s toughest stage race of one week”.

Quick.Step-Alpha Vinyl was assisted by INEOS Grenadiers to control the day’s flight, who set a solid pace for Martínez. Even if it was a rider from Jumbo-Visma, who opened the debates at 40 kilometers from the finish. On the Krabelin, a first category climb, Roglic accelerated. Martínez, Vlasov, Vingegaard, Izagirre, Bilbao and Mas moved along. Evenepoel had to manage it alone, because it went too fast for teammates Alaphilippe and Vansevenant.

Evenepoel chose his own pace and managed to reconnect. Our compatriot didn’t have time to recuperate, because Mas pulled the throttle open. All favorites followed, except Evenepoel. In the descent the same Mas fell. Martínez was hindered and was absorbed by a group with Evenepoel. Their gap on the favorites group was more than twenty seconds.

In the descent of the penultimate climb, the Urakregi, Evenepoel impressed. Our compatriot took a lot of risk and rejoined with Martínez in his wake. Evenepoel handed out a little shot. He won the intermediate sprint ahead of Martínez and extended his lead by a second.

The final climb to Arrate had to make the final decision. This is where the Tour of the Basque Country would be decided. Formolo, a remnant of the day’s flight, was the first to accelerate. Evenepoel seemed to keep control, but had to let go of the role three kilometers from the top. Gone yellow jersey. Martínez now had the best papers for the overall victory.

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