Ion Izagirre close to winning first GC title in four years at Valenciana

Ion Izagirre in yellow after stage 4

Consistent racing throughout the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana could see Ion Izagirre ( Astana Pro Team ) claim his first overall victory in a stage race in four years. Astana Pro Team played a very strong hand on stage four's critical final four-kilometre ascent to Santa Lucia hermitage, with Luis León Sánchez and Merhawi Kudus – second on this climb in the 2017 Vuelta a España – very active on the lower slopes, and Pello Bilbao shadowing Izagirre towards the summit. Although Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) proved unmatchable in his ferocious twin acceleration, Izagirre’s fourth place enabled him to move into the lead, with Bilbao now lying in third place overall to create an Astana GC ‘sandwich’ around world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). This is Izagirre’s first stage race lead since the Tour de Romandie in 2016 and, barring disaster, Sunday’s straightforward flat stage into Valencia will end with him ...

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