After moving into the lead of the Mountains Classifications at the end of stage five, De Marchi was motivated to defend the leader’s jersey and, as a result, was the first to go over the top of the first of six categorized climbs before making the move into a leading group of 18 riders.
At the top of the next two climbs, De Marchi swept up the maximum KOM points and despite the race exploding behind the leading group and the General Classification contenders closing the gap on the slopes of the category one Azurki climb, the CCC Team rider was able to stick with the pace being set to take yet more points.
However, at the top of the penultimate climb, with 36 kilometers remaining, a group of five riders had opened up an advantage of one minute 50 seconds over the yellow jersey group which still included De Marchi and Víctor de la Parte.
On the final climb, the chasing group exploded with the CCC Team duo dropping back as those General Classification contenders who missed the decisive move started to react to the pressure being applied at the front of the race.
In the end, it was with the eventual stage winner, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT), who went over the top of the Asensio first and in doing so, moved into the overall lead of the Mountains Classification, pushing De Marchi into second, just four points back.
In the final kilometers of the race, with riders, and small groups of riders, spread out all across the road, de la Parte was able to stick with the first chasing group before eventually riding his own tempo to the line to finish as CCC Team’s best placed rider in 20th place and move up into 16th overall on the General Classification.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
Alessandro De Marchi:
“It was another really hard day and as it was my last effort, I really gave it everything. I really tried to do my best from the start, looking for KOM points to defend the jersey and for any breakaways but it looks like this is not the right race for the type of breakaway that I am used to. I felt like I was getting stronger all week and if I just look at my feelings on the bike then I have to be happy. However, on the other hand, I came out of the race with nothing to really show for my effort and that is disappointing because at the end of the day, you need results. Now, I think it is time to reset the mind and start to look forward to the Ardennes.”
Víctor de la Parte:
“After yesterday, we knew that today was going to be a really hard and fast stage. We tried to do the best we could for De Marchi to go in the breakaway and he was able to take the points at the start of the day but it was a crazy day in the end with Astana Pro Team really trying to be in the front. My legs felt better today than yesterday and much better than on the really rainy day. I think as a team we did a good job and everyone was racing better every stage so we are happy as we look forward to the races to come.”
Gabriele Missaglia, Sports Director:
“De Marchi was trying really hard to force a breakaway to go clear and as he did that he was able to take the first KOM points but after that the race situation changed. The fight for the General Classification was full gas right from the start of the race so, that is really what prevented a better outcome for us.”
“The team was active in the race today with De Marchi and de la Parte in front. De la Parte was able to stay with the yellow jersey group right up until the end of the last climb. He was getting better throughout the race and on the long climbs. We did the best we could do at this race. It was a typically hard edition of Itzulia Basque Country with no fussing around and never really an opportunity for a breakaway to make it to the end. Overall though, I think the riders coming out of this race will be stronger than when they started.”
Itzulia Basque Country
Stage 6: Eibar > Eibar (118.2 km)
Top 3: 1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2. Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates) 3. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)
CCC Team Top 3: 20. Víctor de la Parte 24. Alessandro De Marchi 60. Amaro Antunes
Top 3 on GC: 1. Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team) 2. Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates) 3. Emanuel Buchmann (BORA – hansgrohe)
CCC Team Top 3 on GC: 16. Víctor de la Parte 29. Alessandro De Marchi 76. Amaro Antunes