The Tour of the Basque Country kicks into gear on a tough ITT course of 11.2 kilometres. La Antigua is crested inside the last 3 kilometres after a 2.3 kilometres toil at 9.7% with ramps up to 21% in the last 100 metres before the top.
The 2nd stage features climbs in the first 50 kilometres before a more rolling profile leads to a nasty uphill kick to the line. The last 600 metres climb at 8.1%.
Stage 3 in the ‘Itzulia Basque Country’ is the longest race in this edition. At 191.4 kilometres, the route is far from flat, yet a likely scenario is a power sprint to the finish near the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Estíbaliz. The final 2 kilometres go up at approximately 4%.
Four climbs are included in the 4th stage. The last one is extremely irregular – a 2.3% slope in the first kilometre and 6.4% in the second before an 800 metres drop continues onto 500 metres at 10%. The climb levels out before the top and a flying descent drops down to the finish line in Arrigorriaga.
The last two races are merely 270 kilometres combined, while including thirteen mountains. Basque mountains, that is, with a lot of double digit ramps. So the battle for the GC will be brutal.
Stage 5 serves seven climbs before finishing near the iconic Sanctuary of Arrate, which serves as a finish for the ninth time in a row. The final haul up is 5 kilometres at 8.8%, while the last few kilometres run on rolling terrain to a 600 metres drop to the finish.
The 6th stage of the Tour of the Basque Country is an explosive out-and-back race through the hills around Eibar. The final ascent is the Asensio. This is a 7.3 kilometres climb with its toughest section – 1 kilometre at 9.5% – close to the top. The ensuing descent flies down to the line in Eibar.
The ‘Itzula Basque Country’ awards the first three riders on the line in each stage (not the ITT) time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while intermediate sprints come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Champion Primoz Roglic will not return to defend his title in the 2019 Tour of the Basque Country.
Tour of the Basque Country 2019: route, profiles, more
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