Adam Yates of Mitchelton-SCOTT has won stage 3 of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. The Brit took the win out of an elite climbing group of five, with Egan Bernal taking second place and Dan Martin third; while Thomas De Gendt narrowly held on to his overall leader’s jersey.
The first opportunity for the GC contenders in this year’s Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, stage 3 from Sant Feliu de Guixols to Vallter 2000 took the field to its first summit finish of the race, an 11.4km climb averaging 7.7%. It was a day that saw 11 riders break clear of the peloton with Álvaro Cuadros of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Pieter Weening and Maurits Lammertink of Roompot-Charles, Óscar Cabedo of Burgos-BH, Bert-Jan Lindeman of Jumbo-Visma, Sergio Samitier of Euskadi-Murias, Anthony Delaplace of Arkéa-Samsic, Bart De Clercq of Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Francois Bidard of AG2R La Mondiale, Lennard Kämna of Team Sunweb and Dries Devenyns of Decuninck-QuickStep forming the escapees.
Their lead sat at a healthy 4 minutes on the approach to the final two climbs of the day, the Port de Rocabruna and then Vallter 2000 – Setcases; but with Movistar leading the chase for a good chunk of the race and then Lotto Soudal taking over at the bottom of the final climb it wasn’t looking good for the break; particularly with the break capitulating on the final drag to the line.
Pieter Weening and Bert-Jan Lindeman were the strongest climbers of the break, but with 9.2km remaining Weening left his companion behind as Team Sky took over the pace for Egan Bernal; with Chris Froome a long way back down the road and recovering from his injuries of yesterday. It didn’t take long for the pace set down by Team Sky to begin to fracture the peloton, with Thomas De Gendt one of the early strugglers. He would continue to battle through the stage though to maintain his overall lead.
Up ahead Weening was rapidly reeled back in as Sky continued to lay down a strong tempo to catch Weening with almost 6km to go where Sky surged forward to whittle the leading group down to the creme of the crop. Nairo Quintana was sitting third wheel and looking strong, and it was an attack by Egan Bernal and Quintana that threatened to blow the GC race wide open. The two got a good gap on the rest and looked like they could go all the way to the line; but for Quintana’s unwillingness to take turns with his compatriot.
Movistar’s refusal to take a turn on the front allowed Adam Yates of Mitchelton-SCOTT to bridge the gap to join the leading duo with 4km to go. Daniel Martin and Miguel Angel Lopez were also closing while behind them a group containing Thibaut Pinot, Ilnur Zakarin, Michael Woods and Richard Carapaz was sitting at 51 seconds deficit with 2.7km remaining.
With the catch almost made Bernal made another attack, putting Lopez and Martin into the red to try and stay with him, while Quintana and Yates stayed with him comfortably. Lopez regained contact with 1.9km to go as the gap to the Pinot group grew to a minute. Yates was the next to attack as Martin regained contact; with Irishman yo-yoing off the back of the group but valiantly clawing his way back every time.
Lopez also went on the attack with 1.4km to go; but each attack was reeled back in and that allowed Martin to come back on board with 1km remaining. It seemed that the attacks might have lulled but then Dan Martin made a kick for the line with about 900m to go. Again it was unsuccessful and this time the group looked content to settle the stage with a sprint finish. At 400m to go Quintana had the lead with Adam Yates on his left, with Dan Martin just behind followed by Bernal and Lopez.
Dan Martin led out the sprint with a big kick for the line, but with 150m to go Yates overtook the Irishman, and kicked for home with Bernal close behind. The Brit just had enough to take the stage ahead of Bernal, with the brave Martin holding on for third.
Thomas De Gendt did just enough to hold on to his overall lead, with a 27 second advantage over Adam Yates, with Egan Bernal in third place at 30 seconds.
Patrick Bevin of CCC Team finished 63rd at 9.41mins, just ahead of the last man standing from the break; Pieter Weening. Dion Smith of Mitchelton-SCOTT finished just ahead of Dries Devenyns in 97th place after supporting his teammate Yates to the stage win earlier in the day, while James Mitri of Burgos-BH crossed the line in a large group led home by Fabio Sabatini.
|Rank||Last Name||First Name||Country||Team||Result|
|1||YATES||Adam||GBR||MITCHELTON – SCOTT||5:02:18|
|2||BERNAL GOMEZ||Egan Arley||COL||TEAM SKY||5:02:18|
|3||MARTIN||Daniel||IRL||UAE TEAM EMIRATES||5:02:18|
|5||LOPEZ MORENO||Miguel Angel||COL||ASTANA PRO TEAM||5:02:20|
|6||KRUIJSWIJK||Steven||NED||TEAM JUMBO – VISMA||5:02:48|
|7||ZAKARIN||Ilnur||RUS||TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN||5:03:04|
|10||WOODS||Michael||CAN||EF EDUCATION FIRST||5:03:11|
|97||SMITH||Dion||NZL||MITCHELTON – SCOTT||5:16:12|
|134||MITRI||James||NZL||BURGOS – BH||5:29:07|