Stage Report: A fast finalé saw the hopes of a late beak on stage 3 fade as the sprinter teams laid down a phenomenal speed to the line in Alhaurín de la Torre. Italian National champion Elia Viviani was brought to his take-off point perfectly by his Quick-Step Floors team for his first Grand Tour win in the tricolor jersey. Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) retained the red leader’s jersey.
A first for Viviani!
With few opportunities for the sprinters to shine in the 2018 Vuelta a España, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) showed his speed and the Italian champs jersey to its fullest in Alhaurin de la Torre. Viviani crossed the line ahead of fellow Italian fast-man Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) for his first victory at La Vuelta.
Another hot day in Andalusia for the peloton
Stage 3 from Mijas to Alhaurín de la Torre:
Mijas will fire the starting gun of stage number 1500 in the history of La Vuelta. The Malaga locality, known for its “donkey taxis”, is the perfect example of Malaga’s characteristic contrast between the sea and the mountains. This will be the second time that Mijas hosts a La Vuelta stage departure. In 2015, Peter Sagan won a stage that ended with a sprint to the finish-line between Mijas and the Malaga capital. The peloton will leave the sea behind and head towards the mountains that frame the natural area of Caminito del Rey. Its steep slopes that wind between the peaks of the Malaga mountain range crowned Columbian rider, Esteban Chaves, in 2015 who, not only won the stage, but also wore La Roja. It will be the first high-altitude finale for La Vuelta 2018. The Ochoa brothers lived in Alhaurín de la Torre most of their lives, you read their sad story in today’s EUROTRASH.
Selfie time at the start for the World champion
The early break went on the Cat 1 Puerto del Madroño attracted early, including: Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Pierre Rolland (Education First-Drapac) and Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias). The Spanish leader of the KOM classification, Mate, and his two breakaway companions were joined by Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jordi Simon (Burgos-BH) and Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). The group of six built up a lead of 3 minutes over a Sky-led peloton as they hit the first slopes of the climb, 25.5 kilometers into the stage.
The early break wasn’t allowed much of a lead
The peloton didn’t take a rest
A steady effort on the climb brought their lead up to 4:08 after 34km, but it never got higher than that with Elia Viviani’s Quick-Step Floors driving the bunch to ensure a sprint. Luis Angel Mate still made the most of his day at the front, beating Pierre Rolland at the summit of the Puerto del Madroño as well as the Cat 3 Puerto del Viento after 85kms. Their lead was reduced to 2 minutes with 93 km to go.
More KOM points for Mate
Sky and Quick-Step Floors were in control
Bora-Hansgrohe lent a hand at the front, pulling the gap to under 1 minute. Victor Campenaerts and Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacked with 45km to go and quickly bridged to the leaders due to a strong effort from Wallays.
A clean rear wheel from Elia Viviani
Jordi Simon attacked the leaders unsuccessfully and Victor Campenaerts crashed 23km out from the finish. Bora-Hansgrohe’s Lukas Pöstlberger tried to go solo and had 25 seconds lead with 15km to go, but ran out of energy and was caught by the Movistar-led bunch with 6km to go. Michael Mørkøv gave his Quick-Step Floors’ team-sprinter, Elia Viviani, the perfect lead-out for the Italian champion to better Nizzolo and Sagan. Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski finished in 13th place in the same time as the stage winner to hold the overall lead.
Michal Kwiatkowski – Still in Vuelta red
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Vuelta a España Stage 3 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors in 4:48:12
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Michael Morkov (Den) Quick-Step Floors
8. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
11. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
12. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
13. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
14. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
15. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
16. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
17. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
18. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
19. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
20. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
21. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
22. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
23. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
24. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
25. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 3:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky in 9:10:52
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:14
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:25
4. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:28
5. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:30
6. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:32
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:33
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:35
11. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:37
12. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
13. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 0:42
14. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
15. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:43
16. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
17. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:45
18. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:47
19. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:48
20. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
21. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:49
22. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC at 0:50
23. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
24. David De La Cruz (Spa) Sky at 0:53
25. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:54.