Report – Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 3


Michael Matthews wins his second stage of Vuelta Pais Vasco, Ben Swift is fourth – Alberto Contador leads overall

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Report – Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco

The 194 kilometre stage from Urdazubi to Vitiria-Gasteiz was another undulating stretch where there were several launching pads for riders looking to attack whilst Tinkoff-Saxo, once again, did their best to control and defend.

Four climbs were on the menu and the final slope was a category-3 climb with the top of the mountain only nine kilometres from the finish. The days hero was Ruben Fernandez (CJR) who put in a great effort to stay away from the bunch, which was lead first by Tinkoff-Saxo and eventually, Orica GreenEdge with Michael Matthews on the team and Sky with sprinter, Ben Swift.

With 33 kilometers to go, Fernandez was brought back by the sprinter teams and the pace was kept high to avoid counter-attacks while the race leader Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger were resting comfortably in the wheels behind teammate, Michael Mørkøv. Playing safe, in the rush to the final climb, Tinkoff-Saxo and their race leader moved up to the front of the peloton behind the broad shoulders of Rory Sutherland while the peloton was lined out.

The sprinter teams then took over and in the expected bunch sprint, former U23 World Champion, Michael Matthews paid back his team with a magnificent stage win. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador maintained the overall lead of the race by finishing 16th.

“Everyone did their part today,” confirmed Matthews. “The team rode on the front, stayed around me all day and Simon Gerran’s did a perfect lead-out. It was a huge team effort. Everyone committed to one goal and one plan. All I needed to do was ride the last 200 metres. I had the easy job today.”

“It was a pretty hectic final,” Matthews added. “Not many teams had a lead-out train. It was easy to have just me and Gerro in the last three kilometres. He moved me up at the perfect time and then he gave me the perfect lead-out.”

After the peloton negotiated their way around the final round-about, Gerrans hit the front with Matthews on his wheel. He did a long pull before dropping off Matthews to unleash his sprint.

“I had to trust Gerro’s positioning and timing,” said Matthews. “He’s done this finish a lot of times. He hit out around the last round-about, which came at 500 metres. He dropped me off at 180 metres, and all I had to was put out as much power as I could until I hit the finish line.”

“It was obviously always our plan to go for this stage,” Matthews added. “Having won it two times already, we committed two or three guys to ride from kilometre zero. Having the team totally back you up and fully commit like that makes my job a lot easier. It’s a relief to finish off their work.”

Adam Yates helps Orica GreenEdge Control Race
“When Ruben Fernandez got a lead of nine minutes, that’s when we came to the front,” said Stephens, DS for Orica GreenEdge. “We started chasing after that. Esteban and Christian did the early work. Later on Adam [Yates] pitched in to give Esteban a bit of a break. Those three rode fast enough to maintain the breakaway before slowly bringing it back to the bunch. It was a very controlled chase.”

At the mid-point of the race, Chaves, Meier and Yates had pegged back Fernandez to just under six minutes. Inside the final hour, the gap had fallen below a minute. Fernandez was caught by the bunch with 33 kilometres still to race.

1 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE 05:02:09
2 RéZA Kévin Team Europcar
3 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4 SWIFT Ben Team Sky
5 MARTENS Paul Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
6 ARASHIRO Yukiya Team Europcar
7 RATTO Daniele Cannondale
8 IGLINSKIY Maxim Astana Pro Team
9 GASPAROTTO Enrico Astana Pro Team

15 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team
16 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo
17 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team
19 KREUZIGER Roman Tinkoff-Saxo
26 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team
28 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE
30 SáNCHEZ Samuel BMC Racing Team
42 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team
43 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE
44 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen Lotto Belisol
67 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte Garmin Sharp
74 SANCHEZ Luis Leon Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
78 SCHLECK Fränk Trek Factory Racing
84 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin Sharp
97 SCHLECK Andy Trek Factory Racing
101 BAKELANTS Jan Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 02:32
102 MARTIN Tony Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
107 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE
128 VOIGT Jens Trek Factory Racing 05:56
136 EDMONDSON Joshua Team Sky
143 KENNAUGH Peter Team Sky 12:05

1 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo 12:54:03
2 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team 00:14
3 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:34
4 CUNEGO Damiano Lampre-Merida 00:36
5 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team

21 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: , ,