Report/Result: Vuelta Stage 3

Stage 3 an historic day for the Irish as Sam Bennett wins the stage whilst Nicholas Roche wears the leader’s jersey – the first time in the race’s history an Irish rider wins the stage while another one leads the general classification

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Report/Result: Vuelta Stage 3

Photo: Unipublic / Photogomez Sport

The day after Nicholas Roche (Team Sunweb) claimed the leader’s jersey in Calpe, his countryman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) powered to victory in Alicante. The Irish champion dominated the sprint ahead of Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) after some intense racing on Monday.

This is the first time in the race’s history an Irish rider wins a stage while another one leads the general classification. Roche retains his 2” lead ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team).

A 175-man peloton started from Ibi after Mickaël Delage (Groupama-FDJ) pulled out of La Vuelta 19 due to a throat infection. Three riders immediately were on the move. The Polka-dot jersey Angel Madrazo, back at the front on the day after his breakaway to Calpe, went with his teammate Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and their former Caja Rural-Seguros RGA partner Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias). The three Spaniards worked well together to build a gap of 6’14” after 39km.

Deceuninck-Quick Step was the first team to help Team Sunweb control the pace at the front of the bunch. They were joined by UAE Team Emirates and then Bora-Hansgrohe. The attackers’ lead was down to 3’30” after 80km of racing whilst Angel Madrazo took the 3 KOM points atop the Puerto de Biar (km 116). The peloton trailed by 3’17”.

Jumbo-Visma accelerate, Gaviria fades

The peloton accelerated again in the valley leading to the Puerto de Tibi, where Jumbo-Visma turned the heat up. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) attacked and then many riders tried to counter, but Angel Madrazo managed to stay ahead to take 3 more KOM points at the summit. A stage favourite Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was then dropped.

The peloton caught the last attackers with 39km to go and as the finished approached, the tension rose with Jumbo-Visma setting a hard pace on wind exposed roads. Things remained under control and the wide straight roads in Alicante offered the perfect ground for Sam Bennett to take his 12th victory of the year, the first on a Grand Tour.

Sam Bennett: “I always feel the pressure of expectation and always want that win on a sprint stage. The boys were really amazing today, they made the win possible and I’m really grateful. The lead out was messy with Shane being pushed off my wheel by Trek and Jempy also having to fight hard but both those guys did a super job! Really happy to take my 4th Grand Tour stage victory and hopefully my first of many at the Vuelta. Red Jersey and a stage win: Huge day for Irish cycling and one we can all cherish.” – Sam Bennett

Nicholas Roche: “Max has been investing a lot into the team; in the TTT, yesterday and even today on a day that suited him he helped us out, so fair play to him for giving it a good go in the sprint,” explained Roche at the finish. “It was an exceptional feeling to wear the jersey out on the road today. This morning even though I knew it was an easier stage, I was still quite worried that I might not keep the jersey; you never know with crosswinds or a crash, there are lots of reasons you can lose it. Now I’m just relieved and really happy to wear it one day longer than last time. We’ll take it day-by-day, I think it will all be about how much power I have on Wednesday. Hopefully we can get through tomorrow without too much stress first and then we’ll see what happens on Wednesday.”
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Stage 3
1. Sam Bennett Bora – Hansgrohe 04:25:02
2. Edward Theuns Trek – Segafredo
3. Luka Mezgec Mitchelton – Scott
4. Jon Aberasturi Izaga Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
5. Phil Bauhaus Bahrain – Merida
6. Maximiliano Richeze Deceuninck – Quick Step
7. Fabio Jakobsen Deceuninck – Quick Step
8. Cyril Barthe Euskadi Basque – Murias
9. Szymon Sajnok CCC Team
10. Clement Venturini AG2R La Mondiale
11. Marc Sarreau Groupama – FDJ
12. Damien Touzé Cofidis, Solutions Credits
13. Jonas Koch CCC Team
14. Max Walscheid Team Sunweb
15. Tosh Van der Sande Lotto – Soudal
16. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates
17. Edvald Boasson Hagen Team Dimension Data
18. Vyacheslav Kuznetsov Team Katusha – Alpecin
19. John Degenkolb Trek – Segafredo
20. Zdenek Stybar Deceuninck – Quick Step

40. Nairo Quintana Point jersey Movistar Team
64. Owain Doull Team Ineos
67. Rigoberto Uran EF Education First
71. James Knox Deceuninck – Quick Step
73. Ian Stannard Team Ineos
74. Nicolas Roche Team Sunweb
105. Fabio Aru UAE Team Emirates
130. Tao Geoghegan Hart Team Ineos
132. Hugh Carthy EF Education First

OVERALL
1. Nicolas Roche Team Sunweb 09:51:14
2. Nairo Quintana Movistar Team @ 02
3. Rigoberto Uran EF Education First @ 08
4. Mikel Nieve Mitchelton – Scott @ 22
5. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team @ 33
6. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma @ 35
7. Sergio Higuita EF Education First @ 37
8. Wilco Kelderman Team Sunweb @ 38
9. Davide Formolo Bora – Hansgrohe @ 46
10. Rafal Majka Bora – Hansgrohe @ 46

12. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team @ 49
13. Esteban Chaves Mitchelton – Scott @ 51
14. Fabio Aru UAE Team Emirates @ 01:08
17. George Bennett Team Jumbo – Visma @ 01:13
22. Jakob Fuglsang Astana Pro Team @ 01:39
24. James Knox Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 01:41
29.Hugh Carthy EF Education First @ 01:46

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