What's Cool In Road Cycling

Valverde Takes Uphill Sprint On Stage 3 Of The Vuelta Aragуn

In a uphill bunch sprint, Kelme’s Alejandro Valverde took the stage victory in-front of new “sprint specialist”…Marco Pantani!!! Leonardo Piepoli held onto his overall lead.

To-days third stage, a 157 kilometre circuit round Illueca, was made for a sprinter who could get over the odd mountain or two and sprint up a short hill at the end, Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) was that man. Overall leader, Leonardo Piepoli (ibanesto.com) also managed to place 6th. just infront of Marco Pantani in 4th., who after his 5th yesterday must be pleased with his return to the peloton, pity he lost 2 minutes on the first day’s summit finish.

The day started with Mikel Astarloza (AG2R) going for a lone ride after only 5 kilometres. By the sprint at 72 kilometres he had 6 minutes 23 seconds and at the top of the first cat. climb of the Aguarуn he was down to 2 minutes 45 seconds and the sprint at 134 kilometres, only 1 minute 20 seconds. He was reeled in after 146 kilometres out front.

7 kilometres out, Lopez de Munian (Euskaltel) tried for victory for 4 kilometres, then Diaz Lobato (Paternina) had a go in the final kilo to be pulled back by Marco Pantani’s team leading him out for the sprint, Valverde etc. came round him before the line.

Tomorrow is similar to to-day, 168 kilometres from La Muela to Borja with two 3rd. cat climbs and a short uphill finish. Maybe another day for the sprinters?

Stage 3 Result:

1st. A.Valverde (KEL) 4:08:43.
2nd. A.Edo (MIL) same time.
3rd. M.Albasini (PHO) same time.
4th. M.Pantani (MER) same time.
5th. M.Artetxe (EUS) same time.
6th. L.Pirpoli (BAN) same time.

Overall After Stage 3:

1st. L.Piepoli (BAN) 12:26:39.
2nd. G.Simoni (SAE) at 24 secs.
3rd. M.Beltran (COA) at 26 secs.
4th. J.Jufre (Relax) at 39 secs.
5th. C.Garcia Quesada (KEL) at 48 secs.
6th. F.Jeker (MIL) at 55 secs.
7th. V.Karpets (BAN) at 56 secs.
8th. J.C.Dominguez (PHO) at 57 secs.
9th. F.Mancebo (BAN) at 58 secs.
10th. J.Ferrio (Paternina) at 1:03.

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