Almost flawless debut in Itzulia
06 April 2015

Vuelta al País Vasco (st. 1)

A crash without major injuries for José Herrada into Bilbao's finish breaks a calm day at the front for the Movistar Team, always keeping Nairo Quintana safe into the climbs of Vivero. Matthews (OGE) sprints to first leader jersey

Nairo Quintana got off to a safe start in the 2015 Vuelta al País Vasco as the Movistar Team controlled the race all the way through the opening 167km in and around Bilbao. The work by local man Igor Antón and Gorka Izagirre was restless at the front of the bunch, keeping the day's three-man escape within reasonable gap until the last survivor, Omar Fraile (CJR), was caught on the foot of the final passage through the Alto del Vivero (Cat-2), where several attacks found consistent response from Ion Izagirre and Beñat Intxausti.

The reduced bunch suffered a crash into Bilbao's finishing straight, affecting José Herrada among many other riders; fortunately, the Spaniard only has blows and bruises which don't jeopardize his continuity into the race. The incident took off calmness from a group where Quintana finished without losing any time, together with Ion (14th), Intxausti and Herrada himself, all behind first leader Michael Matthews (OGE). Another bunch sprint is likely to happen on Tuesday, as the only hard ascent of Orduña (Cat-1) comes far away from the finish and only the big-ring climbs of Vitoria (Cat-2) and Zaldiaran (x2, Cat-2) are tackled before a fast descent into Gasteiz (175km).