Israel Start-Up Nation’s eventful journey at Itzulia Basque Country has come to a close this evening. How fitting was it that our man from New Zealand, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Bevin was the one to leave another mark to remember.
In the short queen stage of the race – decision day for the GC contenders – the gutsy, combative Paddy (no doubt our best man in the race) was going hard, yet again.
There was almost no chance that the GC contenders would let a breakaway get loose, and yet, undeterred, he was still at it, forming a breakaway early. But it was not just another breakaway: this one demanded an incredibly high pace and exceptional ability to ascend well in the seven categorized climbs.
But, for a non-climber, he was astonishingly solid (yet again) and was able to stick with the breakaway, and the best GC contenders that eventually joined them, until 3 km to the top of the 5th climb. Only then was he forced to retreat.
From that moment, it was a show of the GC contenders (Roglic was the top dog, winning it all), but for ISN, it was Paddy who deserved another pat on the back.
Bevin: “It was a crazy Basque day. I pushed hard to be in the break with the hope of having a buffer to get over the hard side of Arrate. Ultimately it was race in from the gun so ended up just going as far as I can.”
But all that effort was worth it and his fine showing moved him up the ladder to 20th overall, a great result for a non climber in one of the toughest climbing tour races on the calendar. “20th on GC for a rider like myself is a strong showing and it bodes well for the races to come” Said Bevin.
Paddy was, undoubtedly, ISN’s man in the Basque, finishing 7th place twice and helping his teammates Woods and Impey to finish 5th and 4th in two other stages.
More importantly, he was the one that carried the team after suffering the loss of our own GC-man Mike Woods to a crash in the third stage.
“Paddy was amazing throughout, and all the team showed great character, not losing motivation after our misfortune with the crashes that took out Woods and Piccoli,” said our Spanish boss in the race, sports director Oscar Guerrero. “I am proud of them.”