URDAX-DANTXARINEA, Spain (Reuters) – Spanish rider Mikel Iturria won stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana on home soil in the Basque Country on Wednesday with a hugely impressive solo attack, while Primoz Roglic maintained his overall lead.
Iturria was part of a 12-strong group of breakaway riders on the 180km hilly stage from Saint-Palais in France to Urdax-Dantxarinea but attacked himself 25 kilometres from the finish, at one point stretching his advantage to 45 seconds.
The chasers gained ground on Iturria but could not reel him in and the Euskadi–Murias rider earned his first Grand Tour win by finishing six seconds ahead of fellow Spaniard Jonathan Lastra in second and third-placed Lawson Craddock of the U.S.
“When I was asked which stage I wanted to win, I said this one – with my family here. I’ve always dreamed of something like this, because I’m a worker not a winner,” Iturria told reporters.
“Before the Vuelta I came here to recon the stage. I dedicate it to those who were with me.”
Race leader Roglic came in 18 minutes and 35 seconds behind Iturria with the rest of the peloton, maintaining his lead of one minute 52 seconds over nearest challenger Alejandro Valverde after his victory in Tuesday’s individual time trial.
Stage 12 is another hilly ride around northern Spain, a 171.4 km route from Circuito de Navarra to Bilbao, with the race returning to the mountains on Friday.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)