And the madness continues on Stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana with a third consecutive summit finish. More attackity action in the final few kilometres culminating in a sprint finish among the GC contenders in which Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) successfully surged ahead of race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) cutting the latter’s advantage to just 4 seconds. KOM Richard Carapaz (INEOS) rounded out the podium. There was a gentle shake up on GC, largely due to a couple of mechanicals.
This one was a slow burn
The riders set off from Lodosa without either Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), whose back injury from the Tour was still troubling him, or Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-McLaren) who broke his shoulder blade in a fall yesterday. That’s seven abandons in three days.
But theres still plenty of firepower and the Vuelta peloton thoughtfully saved all the action until today’s exciting stage 18 in Giro d’Italia had finished.
The early break of five were caught after 110km of racing only for another foursome to chance their arms 10kms later. Though, wary of the weather conditions, the bunch had been setting a fast and furious pace.
Just as the final foursome were reeled in, yesterday’s stage winner Movistarlet Marc Soler suffered a mechanical and had to swap bikes with a teammate.
Soler wasn’t the only one to suffer a mechanical but Esteban Chaves‘ (Mitchelton-Scott) swapsie involved him taking the bike of a taller teammate, just as INEOS’ Chris Froome was laying down the power.
The diminutive Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and @pariswheels favourite was the first of many to attack to try to break the INEOS hold on the leading bunch on the final climb.
Clement Champoussin (Ag2r La Mondiale) was next to try his luck which generated much excitement among the French Eurosport commentating team.
The elite group of riders were firing off attacks up the final steep ramp (15%), battling for supremacy, particularly in the very loooooong final kilometre.
With 200 metres to go Martin, with his distinctive nodding style, made his move followed by Messrs Roglic and Carapaz while the others all dropped a few seconds after three consecutive and explosive stages.
This was Martin’s second stage victory in the Vuelta, nine years after the last one atop La Covatilla and, his first win since 2018. Fittingly, while Irish eyes were smiling, we had a few tears from Martin. And you know how we love a few tears at VeloVoices Towers!
As pretty much everywhere in France goes back into quarantine between 21:00 – 06:00, the Vuelta’s not coming to the Tourmalet.
Stage 3 results
1 Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) 4:27:49
2 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) same time
3 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) s/t
4 Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:04
5 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) +0:07
GC Top 10
1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 12:37:24
2 Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) +0:05
3 Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:13
4 Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:32
5 Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +0:38
6 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +0:44
7 Felix Grossschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) +1:17
8 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:29
9 Marc Soler (Movistar) +1:55
10 George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) +1:57
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
Points jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
King of the Mountains Richard Carapaz (INEOS)
Best Young Rider Enric Mas (Movistar)
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Official race website: Vuelta a Espana
Header image: ©GETTY/AFP/