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Alicante - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Sam Bennett (Ireland / Team Bora - hansgrohe) - Edward Theuns (Belgium / Team Trek Segafredo) - Fabio Jakobsen (Netherlands / Team Deceuninck - Quick Step) pictured during Vuelta Espana 2019 / Tour of Spain 2019 - stage -3 from Ibi. Ciudad del Juguete to Alicante (188KM) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019

La VUELTA’19 Stage 3: Irish Domination – Bennett Stage Win!

Vuelta Stage Report: The third stage of the 2019 Vuelta a España was won by Sam Bennett. The Irish champion of Bora-Hansgrohe was the best in the mass sprint after a “Spanish flat” stage of 188 kilometres from Ibi to Alicante. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) were second and third. Nico Roche (Sunweb) held his overall lead for an Irish double.

Roche held the lead

Stage 3 Route with Joaquim Rodríguez:

Two 3rd category climbs will make life difficult for the sprinters, in which is expected to be La Vuelta’s first mass finish, as there will still not be any major differences in the overall standings.

Three escapes coloured the stage to Alicante, including KOM leader Ángel Madrazo from Burgos-BH along with his teammate Diego Rubio and Hector Saez from Euskadi-Murias. The three Spaniards had more than 7 minutes on the peloton.

Team Sunweb were in control for overall leader Nicolas Roche, later the sprinter’s teams took over. With Bora-Hansgrohe, UAE Emirates and Deceuninck – Quick-Step, but it was mainly the team mates of Sam Bennett, Fernando Gaviria and Fabio Jakobsen. Little by little they pulled back the lead.

On the first climb of the day, Madrazo was allowed to strengthen his lead in the KOM classification. The second climb was the Puerto de Tibi (6.7 km at 4.1%), 40 kilometres from the finish. Suddenly Jumbo-Visma appeared at the front, after which Thomas De Gendt attacked. Nielson Powless, Sepp Kuss, Marc Soler and Damien Howson also took part. The attackers didn’t get much of a gap, but due to the acceleration the leading group was caught early.

At the top of the climb, Madrazo – who was still out front – managed to grab the mountain points, just ahead of Ruben Guerreiro. The peloton was in pieces on the climb. Fabio Jakobsen and Fernando Gaviria, and others, were dropped and sat at half-minute. On the descent towards the finish, the back groups managed to regroup, except for Gaviria.

Long after Jakobsen had rejoined the peloton, Gaviria was still at 50 seconds. Bora-Hansgrohe continued to lead the pack to distance Gaviria further. UAE Emirates had Marco Marcato and Sergio Henao wait to help Gaviria back, but there was no chance.

At 21 kilometres from the finish there was another intermediate sprint where three, two and one seconds could be gained. Sergio Higuita won, ahead of Martijn Tusveld and Primoz Roglic. The Slovenian took a second back from his big loss in the team time trial. Jumbo-Visma took the lead to keep their leader safe at the front.

The majority of the finalé was downhill to the finish in Alicante. Under the 3 kilometre to go mark; Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe, along with Sunweb battled for control. In the mass sprint no one could get near Bennett, who finished a few bike length ahead of Theuns and Mezgec. Dutch champion, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was 7th after being trapped in the last metres.

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I can’t tell you how relieved I am with that win. I felt so bad yesterday… Whether I went easy or hard, it just felt bad! Today, I wouldn’t have got it without the team’s effort. I could follow them and relax and they left me in the perfect position. I knew it would be a very fast sprint so I really wanted to kick first. I’m delighted to get a Grand Tour victory, especially with the Irish champion jersey. I’m very proud to wear it and to win with it. I’m delighted we are giving the Irish fans something to cheer for (with Nicolas Roche). We can win in the sprints, in the mountains, play on GC… Hopefully this will bring more interest. Winning the first one of a GT makes it easier for the rest. There aren’t a lot of chances for sprinters of this Vuelta and, had I not won today, I would have been pretty much waiting for the last week. So this makes it definitely easier.”

Vuelta a España Stage 3 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:25:02
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
6. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
9. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC
10. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
11. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
12. Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis
13. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC
14. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
15. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
16. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
17. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
18. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
19. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
20. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
21. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
22. José Rojas (Spa) Movistar
23. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
24. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-Merida
25. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 3:
1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb in 9:51:14
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:02
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 0:08
4. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:22
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:33
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:35
7. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 0:37
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:38
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:46
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
11. Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC at 0:48
12. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:49
13. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:51
14. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:08
15. Alexander Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:10
16. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
17. George Bennett (NZ) Team Jumbo-Visma at 1:13
18. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 1:16
19. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:32
20. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 1:39
21. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
22. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
23. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 1:40
24. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:41
25. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

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