The Tour Take | Vuelta a Espana Stage 3

 Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

The Steps

1st – Elia Vivianni (Quick-Step Floors)

2nd – Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek - Segafredo) @ s.t

3rd – Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) @ s.t

The Jerseys

Red - Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky)

Green - Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky)

Polka Dot - Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis)

The Aussies

11th - Simon Clarke (23rd on GC)

43rd  - Jack Haig

53rd - Jay McCarthy

102nd - Alex Edmondson

108th - Damien Howson

109th - Jai Hindley

121st - Mitch Docker

134th - Michael Storer

155th - Richie Porte

159th - Rohan Dennis (4th on Points)

171st - Nick Schultz

 

The GC

1st - Michal Kwiatkowski,

2nd - Alejandro Valverde @ 0:14

3rd - Wilco Kelderman @ 0:25

4th - Laurens De Plus @ 0:28

5th - Jon Izagirre @ 0:30

9th -  Nairo Quintana @ 0:33

10th - Bauke Mollema @ 0:35

11th - Steven Kruiswijk @ 0:37

12th - Simon Yates @ 0:37

14th - Rafal Majka @ 0:42

16th - Thibaut Pinot @ 0:43

17th - George Bennett @ 0:45

The Route

The first flat finish of the Vuelta provided the first opportunity for the sprinters, but was a hilly 178km route to get to Alhaurin de la Torre. The 20km long Puerto del Modrono started after only 23km, giving an opportunity for a break to get established. The rest of the stage went primarily downhill, with only one more categorised climb for the day.

 

The Key Point

The final corner of Stage 3 came with over four kilometres to go; four roundabouts were still to be navigated, but it was a fairly straightforward sprint.

 

The Break

A group of six riders jumped away in the opening kilometres with Luis Angel Mate, Hector Saez, and Pierre Rolland all reprising their roles as escapees from yesterday’s break. Nans Peters, Jordi Simon and Antonio Molina joined them, and by the top of the Puerto del Modrono they had over four minutes advantage over the Sky and Quick Step led peloton.

Our mate, Mate took the points on the main climb to extend his league in the KOM Competition, and he’ll wear the jersey again tomorrow.  The break didn’t have a lot of oomph in it and there wasn’t a lot of oomph behind either, with the peloton slowing - the two groups were apparently in a competition to have the easiest day possible.

With 45km to go Postlberger, Wallays, Gougeard and Campenaerts slipped across to the break with the gap holding under a minute. Their fresh legs gave the group an extra burst, but they were all back in the fold by 20km to go.

 

The Finish

Movistar were the main pacemakers until the final couple of kilometres; Alejandro Valverde lurked, looking for a second win in two days, this time on the flat. 

Cofidis and Bora came to the fore with 3km to go, wary of the roundabouts in the finale. But by the final kilometre, Michael Morkov of Quick-Step Floors was nearly the only leadout man left. He hit the front with 500m to go and led out the Italian Champ Vivianni. Giacomo Nizzolo was in pursuit but didn’t have the legs, while Peter Sagan recovered to third after an impeded run to the line.

 

The Winning Ride

Elia Vivianni’s been the dominant sprinter in 2018, and he was on fire the Giro. After taking four stages there, he’ll be looking to do something similar here.

 

The Votes

3 - Elia Vivianni. The hottest sprinter of 2018 wins again.

2 - Luis Angel Mate. Mate is from this region and loving cycling right now. Outclimbing Pierre Rolland and spending two days in the break

1 - Lukas Postlberger. Joined the break to police the move, but attacked himself when he was possibly told that Sagan didn't have great legs. Rode well, and this wouldn't have been his first Grand Tour stage win taken with a ballsy move

Leaders: Dennis, Kwiatkowski, Vivianni, Valverde (3), De Plus, Mate (2), Campenaerts, Postlberger (1), De Gendt (-1)

The Next Stage

Two Cat 1 climbs are on the menu for what’s again classified as a flat stage (it’s all part of the Vuelta’s charm), including a summit finish. It’s 164km from Velez-Malaga to the Sierra de la Alfaguara, with the first big climb coming halfway through. The final climb is 12.4km long at 5.1%, with the steepest ramps of 11% coming halfway up. The final kilometre is around 6% and will provide the first proper climbing test of the Vuelta

The Pick

You can never quite be sure who’s turned up in form here, so on the first proper summit finish it’s a lottery, but we’ll back the kiwi George Bennett. He’s been resting since the Giro and looked spritely on the Stage 2 finish. Back the Kiwi to bring the goods.

See you back at the social club,

Josh

 


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