Which is rather surprising, since the last eleven editions of the Itzulia Basque Country all included a Sanctuary of Arrate finish. More often than not on the last day of action.
Yet, variety is the spice of life and this time we’ll see a Eibar-Eibar stage with a finish in the valley, while the amount of climbing is still intimidating. The first ramp of many appears after 10 kilometres. It’s the Elkorrieta, a 2.6 kilometres climb at 6.7%. Following a mini descent the route continues to climb on the Azurki. This is an irregular 5.1 kilometres ascent with an average gradient of 7.4%. The middle section goes up 11% and peaks out at 16%.
Up next is the Elosua, a relatively easy climb of 10 kilometres at 5.3% leading to the village Gorla. The riders then descend back towards Eibar and enter the Krabelin. Effectually, this is the famous Arrate climb, but on the other – and steeper – side. The Krabelin is 5 kilometres long and averaging 9.6%. The middle section is extremely brutal, as it ramps up to 20%, while the hardest part of the Krabelin adds 2 kilometres at 14% to the mix.
The route descends to the intermediate sprint in Markina before continuing to the Trabakua, a 3.3 kilometres climb at 7.1%.
A short descent, an even shorter climb, an equally short descent, another short climb, the second intermediate sprint in Eibar, and then it’s time for the Itzua. Which is not only the last steep climb of the day, it’s also a familiar one. The Itzua overlaps with the traditional finish climb to Arrate, but instead of continuing towards the Sanctuary the riders turn left after the steepest section. This way the climb is 4.1 kilometres long and averaging 9.2%.
Still almost 27 kilometres remaining after the Itzua. The descent is familiar, as it’s the same as the downhill from the Krabelin 40 kilometres earlier. After reaching the valley in Etxeberria the riders now turn right to enter the Urkaregi. For a change, the last climb of the day does not throw in another set of intimidating gradients. The Urkaregi 5 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at a modest 4.8%.
The Urkaregi is done and dusted with 22 kilometes to go. The first part is in descent and the riders then enter a false flat all the way to the line.
The first three riders on the line gain times bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprints come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
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Tour of the Basque Country 2023 stage 6: route, profile, more
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