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"I did everything to come back in shape and I was very motivated for the end of the season. I'm delighted, it's fulfilling to win this stage. It was the goal on this Vuelta. I'm really super happy."

Photo: Sirotti

VUELTA A ESPAÑA

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
22.08.2016 @ 23:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) bounced back from a year of disappointments by claiming his second stage win at the Vuelta a Espana with a marvelous ride up the 30% wall of Mirador del Ezaro at the end of stage 3. The Frenchman emerged as the lone survivor from a 7-rider breakaway and held off the late comeback from an amazing Ruben Fernandez (Movistar) who was the strongest in the GC battle and even crossed the line with his arms in the air, believing that he had won the stage. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Chris Froome (Sky) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) were the best of the pre-race favourites and all finished in the top 5 while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) lost almost 30 seconds to the trio. Fernandez is the new leader.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Alexandre Geniez: I have done everything to turn my season around

"I'm very happy. It's been a very difficult season with my crash in Italy. I've been working a lot and now I'm extremely happy. It's a big moment for me. It was close in the end but I got it,” Geniez said.

 

"We knew we had a chance to stay away because it was a good breakaway. The peloton watched each other and waited too much and slowed. That gave us more time and more hope to pull it off.

 

"It was hard out there. It felt L'Alpe d'Huez at the beginning of the climb, the crowds were huge and everyone was yelling and cheering me on. It was a great atmosphere but it was difficult to focus. There's no climb like in France, it's very difficult to time your effort, you can't stay together, you've just got to go for it.

 

”It's a reward. The beginning of the season didn't go too well. I was very motivated for the Giro and I crashed in the third stage, there was nothing I could do. One month later, a wrist fracture was discovered and I was plastered for a month. I returned to the bike only at the start of July. I did everything to come back in shape and I was very motivated for the end of the season. I'm delighted, it's fulfilling to win this stage. It was the goal on this Vuelta. I'm really super happy.

 

”I knew I had to move on a hard stage which doesn't mean I had the condition. I did not have many race days in the legs. I saw that my condition was coming back with my stage win on the Tour de l'Ain. You must take chances to win. You never know if the break is going to take five or six minutes, how the bunch will react. You just have to go for it.

 

”The heat first of all made it hard. It's very hot even if we've had hotter stages on the Vuelta. Especially in the last climb. The speed was reduced, there was no wind, a lot of people. It was a very demanding climb, with slopes at more than 20 pc, concrete sections. Really a very steep, hard climb. I knew that the peloton were coming back. There was no time to think, I just had to give it my all. I crossed the line exhausted but the joy of victory makes you forget the pain in the legs.

 

”My first win was a very different stage, later in the Vuelta. It's a special race. You race differently from earlier in the season. It's always a difficult race, especially with the heat. I don't particularly like the heat so it's a hard race for me. But fortunately, the race goes along the ocean this year, it brings a little bit of cool air. It's one of the trop three races of the season with the Tour and the Giro. Its' really a great joy to win here.

 

”I must say it surprised us all a little bit that Pellaud was in front. At the start of the stage, a lot of riders were battling it out for the mountains jersey. He went on. He's young. Tactically, I don't think it was the best thing to do. There was more to earn by staying together and trying to work together to take some time. He played his own card but there was too much flat to go on your own. In the climb, he was stronger and he attacked at the right moment. We watched each other at the back. At the top, I'm 50 metres behind him, waiting for the guys. If we wanted to catch him, we could have, but a stage is 170 km long and you have to think twice.”

 

Ruben Fernandez: My goal is still to work for Quintana and Valverde

A huge display from a team of stars, old and young. The Movistar Team stroke first at the short, intense climb of the Mirador de Ézaro, end of stage three of the Vuelta a España, by setting a young, promising rider from Murcia, Spain, in the lead with Rubén Fernández. Following a summer full of good results and perfectly-timed preparations for the end of the season, the man hailing from Churra was the strongest at the 1.8km climb from the village of Dumbría, from where he drove the pace almost entirely until the finish line, a job well rewarded with the red jersey.

 

As Geniez (FDJ) battled alone for a coveted stage win via the early break, the squad directed by Arrieta and Chente put all their rivals' hopes into jeopardy already through the first kilometer of the ascent, reducing the bunch to an eight-man group that included four of the Blues, soon down to three out a four-man attack: Fernandez, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Esteban Chaves (OBE). Following a short move from the two Colombians, quickly caught by Valverde and Fernández, the 25-year-old Spaniard flew through the last 200 meters for the second place in the stage and a GC lead he visibly celebrated through the finishing banner.

 

Valverde, 3rd behind his countryman and friend, is already second overall (+7") as Nairo Quintana, sixth over the line, now sits in fifth GC (+17"), only behind his two team-mates, Chaves and Froome (SKY). The Movistar Team will have to defend the red jersey tomorrow on another uphill finish - a longer, less steep one - in the Mirador Vixía de Herbeira (Cat-2) at San Andrés de Teixido, following another lumpy 163km from Betanzos.

 

Rubén Fernández said: 

 

"I couldn't expect this at all. I knew I was coming in good form to this Vuelta, as I had finished sixth overall in both Pologne and Burgos. Plus, my goal here was working for Nairo and Alejandro. However, I was told in the finale to ride by myself... and here we are, wearing red and the leader's jersey in my second Grand Tour.

 

“It hadn't really come through my mind to attack: I was just setting the pace in case Nairo could attack, I was trying to make things harder for the rest. In the end, they told me to ride on my own, and I could open that gap. I celebrated out of pure joy, because of the GC lead; by the earpiece I was told I would sit 1st overall after the stage... I couldn't be happier.

 

”My goal remains the same: we can't forget for a second about helping out our team leaders, which is the main objective, yet I'll surely defend this jersey with all I've got.

 

“It was really moving, I rose my arms mainly because of the emotion to take the red jersey. From the team car they were telling me there was a rider in the front of the race but I felt this emotion because becoming the leader at the first Vuelta a España I ride is really special. I didn’t expect at all to achieve that.

 

”This morning I knew the last climb was really hard with these steep parts at 30 pc as I saw videos of the last years, but at the end you never know until you climb it yourself. We had the main goal of making the race hard from the bottom of the climb to select the group, and that’s what we achieved.

 

“We started the climb well positioned because we knew anything could happen. In the end, Nairo told me to go and I reached to make some gap and take the red jersey.

 

”From now on, I will continue to help my leaders, and why not, try to keep the jersey the longer, the better. I just know I am in a great shape, you saw in in Poland and Burgos, and now I’m proving it”

 

"I'm delighted to have the red jersey. We've been working so hard and I honestly didn't expect to have this jersey today. In the end we went for it and we got it.

 

"We thought to control the finish, even if we knew Sky would be there too, and then in the end our plan worked out. Now we'll see what happens tomorrow.

 

Alejandro Valverde: I didn’t feel bad at all

Alejandro Valverde said: 

 

"We knew Rubén was in great form leading up to this race, and he proved it today. I'm so happy to see him taking over the lead. He's a young man, but we all know what he's made of. The work he did at the front to take us closer to Geniez was excellent; we couldn't have battled for the stage either if he hadn't worked, and that's why I feel he rode perfectly. He dropped all of our rivals but Chaves when we three went ahead, and later on, we could keep a steady pace to keep the gaps and avoid the late push by Froome taking us out of his wheel. Alberto lost a bit of time, but there's a lot to happen yet in this Vuelta.

 

“Rubén Fernandez is in a very good condition, he proved it already in the TTT. He prepared the best he could for this Vuelta and I don’t think anybody deserves this red jersey more. It’s a shame that the breakaway went all the way but cycling is like that, and the winner deserved it.

 

 "I could not be happier for my fellow country-man. He carried out a brilliant ascent, in what was a really hard climb. He's not somebody who's just jumped out of nowhere, he's a quality rider. He worked hard for us and then he had the strength to go and look for the lead."

 

“We were all the team together up to the Mirador and we were controlling hard without going crazy. But in the finale we told him to attack and that was it, while I was controlling Froome and Chaves.

 

”About me? Well, I didn't feel bad at all - let's hope I can keep it up through the next stages.

 

"We are in good shape, we showed that in the time trial and it is great that Fernandez gets to wear this jersey. We dropped both Contador and Froome, although finally the Englishman [Froome] caught us again."

 

Nairo Quintana: I can feel the Tour in my legs

Nairo Quintana said: 

 

"Well, everyone could see Rubén has come fresh to this Vuelta! His climb was phenomenal, he's a young boy full of talent. He was really strong today. Je stepped up the pace for the race leaders and then he went and got the lead himself. It's a very good result.

 

”When it comes to myself, I could feel the wear and tear of the Tour. Froome was a bit ahead, Alberto lost some ground... yet I feel like these gaps won't matter much at the end of the Vuelta. Let's keep going day-by-day; the legs are feeling all we went through in the Tour at the moment.

 

Confident Chris Froome: My key stage is the time trial

Chris Froome timed his final effort perfectly on day three at the Vuelta a Espana to finish fourth and move up to third overall.

 

Froome was briefly distanced on the final ascent up the brutal Mirador de Ézaro climb - just two kilometres, but with an average gradient of 14% - yet he paced himself back to the GC group containing Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Ruben Fernandez (all Movistar) and he was able to distance Quintana on the line, gaining six seconds on the Colombian.

 

Alex Geniez (FDJ) had valiantly hung on from the day's break to take a famous victory by just 21 seconds, while behind the GC battle raged on. Fernandez produced a late burst to get away and seal second, with Valverde and Froome following him over the line. Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) rounded out the top five.

 

Pete Kennaugh and Leopold Konig dug deep on the gruelling climb to come home 15th and 16th respectively to sit seventh and eighth overall, inside a minute of the lead. Fernandez leads by seven seconds from Valverde, with Froome a further four seconds back.

 

Speaking after the stage Team Sky's leader said he was pleased with how he felt on the race's first real test.

 

Froome said: "The climb can definitely catch you out if you start too fast. It's easy to think that at only 1.8km you can get a bit carried away at the bottom and I think a few guys fell into that trap and paid for it in the final 500m. I was quite happy with how that went for me.

 

"I was trying to ride at my own pace. At the bottom I got gapped a bit from the leaders but kept pedalling away, trying to get back to the front. It's seven minutes long, but for a short climb... you know about it. It's similar to the Mur du Huy, but longer I guess."

 

He was quick to praise the work of his team-mates, including the red jersey holder Michal Kwiatkowski.

 

He added: "The guys did a really good job getting me into a good final position. I've a lot of respect for those guys, [Michal] Kwiatkowski and Pete [Kennaugh], they were obviously on the same time as me, but they've been great team-mates, sacrificing themselves. I was quite pleased with how the legs felt and for day three I'm happy with the overall standings."

 

Looking ahead, Froome outlined his plans for the rest of the race: "Staying out of trouble, choosing my moments, and hopefully ride into the race a little bit. Obviously the time trial at the end is going to be a key stage for me. That's a stage I'm focusing on. For now, I'm just trying to stay out of trouble."

 

“Pete was not far behind and it's nice to have him up there as well. So I'm pretty happy."

 

"Movistar definitely have a strong team, they are a team that can ride and control the race, for me it's about staying out of trouble, just choosing my moments."

 

“It's hard to compare how I'm feeling, every year is different. I'm in good shape now, but I definitely feel that give another week or so and hopefully I'll start feeling a bit better."

 

Orica-BikeExchange: Chaves was where he had to be

Colombian contender Esteban Chaves produced a great ride for ORICA-BikeExchange on the wickedly steep finale of stage three of the Vuelta a Espanatoday, taking fifth place as many of the overall competitors were distanced.

 

The 176.4kilometre stage was won by Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) from the day's earlier breakaway as the race sprang to life on the summit finish of the Mirador de Ezaro.

 

Many of the contenders for the general classification lost time as Chaves and three Movistar riders set a vicious pace up the steep final slopes.

 

Ruben Fernandez (Movistar) moved into the race lead after taking second place with Chaves close behind in fifth and now fourth overall.

 

Sport director Neil Stephens praised the efforts of Chaves and the team on a very hot day in the saddle.

 

“It was a very solid stage today,” said Stephens. “The whole region of Galicia is up and down and some of the terrain is very challenging, especially in the heat we’ve been experiencing.

 

“All of the guys did a great job again today and we’ve chalked up another good result. We protected Esteban (Chaves) very well and then he rode superbly up the demanding final climb for a strong finish.

 

“We are happy with our position at the moment and Simon Yates also performed strongly in the finale today and is now 11th overall. It is very satisfying to see our hard work come to fruition on the tough stages like today.”

 

Neil Stephens added:

 

“It was good for Esteban. He’s not bad in this sort of finish. He was where he should be. It was a good test for all people on the GC. It was not the ideal climb for him but it was a bit of an indication about the different GC people. There’s a lot of fighting left in this Vuelta but things are starting to take a little bit of shape.””

 

Confident Igor Anton back to his best on Vuelta wall

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding hard in the approach to the climb in order to give Igor Anton a good starting position for the steep ramp.

 

Movistar were the aggressors from the peloton as their trio of Ruben Fernandez, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana attacked on the lower slopes of the climb. Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) was the only other rider able to follow the pace of the Spanish team. Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Anton did not respond immediately to the violent acceleration but both riders rode a consistent tempo to claw back the 3 Spaniards and Colmbian with a few hundred meters to go.

 

Anton followed Quintana home to take an impressive 7th place on the stage the our African Team. Anton's result saw him shoot up the general classification from 72nd to 14th position. 

 

He said:
 

“I like the Vuelta and today I knew the final climb very well. It was really hard which was very good for me. The most important thing was to start the race with a good condition and so today's result has been good for my confidence. I know there is still a long way to go but I was really happy with how today finished.”

 

Samuel Sanchez pleased with solid first GC test

A brutal uphill finish on stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana saw Samuel Sánchez cross the line in eighth place and move in to sixth place on the general classification.

 

Sánchez came closely behind, losing 33 seconds to Fernandez, and now sits 46 seconds behind on the general classification going into stage 4.

 

Samuel Sánchez said:

 

“Today was not the hardest stage of the Vuelta a Espana but it was the first stage that could really make a difference in the race. It was a really, really, super hard uphill finish. On the first two climbs I was feeling good and worked on defending my position as we approached the final climb. I tried to stay up there with the Movistar Team riders, that, and I was not too far behind when I crossed the line in eighth place. I am now sixth overall on GC so I’m happy. The Vuelta a Espana is a long race and we are only on stage 3, so I’ll take things day by day.”

 

Max Sciandri, Sports Director, added:

 

“The plan for today was to keep an early eye on the breakaway and see if we could put a guy in it which didn’t end up happening. Of course on a stage like this we wanted to protect Samuel Sánchez who is our leader. Tejay van Garderen was going to see what he wanted to do with about 30km to go. He wasn’t feeling 100 percent so rode with the main bunch, which will set him up nicely for stage wins in the next two weeks. The rest of the guys helped Sánchez out with his position leading into the final climb.

 

"The fact that a stage this hard came on day three means that the gap between GC riders and stage riders is quite clear. Sometimes in other Grand Tours it takes 8 or 9 days to sort it out but the GC group is really quite defined. We have different, but clear objectives. Sánchez is our leader and we are going to protect him as much as possible, but of course we are going to try and wins stages as the race progresses.”

 

Alberto Contador ’not down’ despite another time loss at the Vuelta

Tinkoff’s leader Alberto Contador eventually came over the line in ninth position, limiting his loses to those in front of him after another hot day out under the Spanish summer sun.
 
All eyes were on the final climb today, with two separate battles going on – one for the stage win from the remainder of the day’s breakaway, while the GC favourites laid it all out on the road behind. The attacks came as soon as the gradients kicked up, and Contador set about riding his own pace to limit his loses as he continues to grow into the race, finishing 54” down on the stage winner, just 28” off the first of the GC contenders.
 
“It wasn’t a good day overall but as I said before, the Vuelta is far from over and the time differences still aren’t very big,” Contador told after the stage. “I am not satisfied, but I feel that my form will improve in the coming days.”
 

After losing contact on the steepest sections to the relentless pace, Alberto settled into a rhythm and limited his losses, still coming over the line for a top 10. With the result he climbs to 12th on GC, now sitting 1’31” off the red jersey.
 
Sport Director Steven De Jongh gave his thoughts on the day.

 

“In the final Alberto didn’t have the power to follow but he really feels confident for this race and is motivated for the what's to come, so he’s not down after today. The rest of the guys rode well again today, and in the final we had Jesús [Hernández], [Ivan] Rovny, and [Yuri] Trofimov there until late on, so the team worked really well. We have to continue going step by step.
 

“Today it was crazy steep at the finish, but it was a hard day with the heat as well and a lot of people suffered – I saw lots of guys white with salt on the penultimate climb. Tomorrow is a shorter day but will also be quite hard, but not as bad as today.”

 

Pieter Serry: It’s not a shame to admit that Geniez is stronger

The always smiling Pieter Serry, one of the most hard-working and invaluable domestiques in the peloton, put in a fantastic effort on what was the first challenging stage of the Spanish Grand Tour, which set off from Marin, a small town in Galicia, home of the Naval Academy. Riding surrounded by superb sceneries, the pack didn't have time for sightseeing, being more concerned about the last climb of the day, Mirador de Ezaro (1800 meters, 13% average gradient), which was waiting patiently at the finish to spread suffering and chaos in the peloton, just as it did four years ago, when it was discovered.

 

Serry, who is in his fourth consecutive World Tour season, was among the seven men to snap the elastic and get a gap as soon as the 176-km-long stage started.

 

Five kilometers away from Mirador de Ezaro, Pieter Serry, Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) and Simon Pellaud (IAM Cycling) still held around two minutes over the chasers, but their advantage began to melt on the punishing climb, which had segments of even 30%. First to wave the flag was Pellaud, as Serry and his French breakaway companion surged ahead on the climb dubbed by many as one of the toughest in cycling.

Then, with 1500 meters left, Geniez attacked one more time on the 16% gradient and powered to victory. Despite his remarkable and valiant ride, Serry was reeled in inside the closing kilometer by the fast charging bunch, from which several riders accelerated.

 

At the finish, 28-year-old Pieter Serry was gutted to miss out on a first Grand Tour victory, but vowed to continue fighting in the next stages:

 

"It was a day of intense suffering, made even tougher by the hot temperatures. We had a gap of around two minutes at the start of Mirador de Ezaro, but it was too steep for me and I couldn't hang in there anymore. Geniez was stronger, it's not a shame to admit that. I am satisfied with my form and I hope to do better in the following stages.

 

“I believed that I could go for victory today but in the last kilometre, I felt the peloton was coming back very fast. It was really steep. It was almost impossible to pedal. I gave it my all. I was so close. I’m a little bit disappointed. But I still have 18 days to go for a victory. I hope I will win a stage. I had the feeling Geniez could win the stage but I was thinking maybe to take some time for the GC. In the end, no prize. Sorry.”

 

Gianluca Brambilla confirms his form with good ride on Vuelta wall

Birthday boy Gianluca Brambilla, who turned 29 on Monday, came at the finish with a group which included three-time Vuelta a España winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff). Tenth on stage 3, the Italian rests in the same place in the general classification, about 1:30 behind the overall leader:

 

"Thanks to the help of Maxime Bouet, who did a great job to bring me at the front, I tackled the last climb in a good position. Movistar set a really high pace right from the first meters of the ascent, but I managed to stay with the best. The climb was difficult, especially the section one paved with cement. I used a 36x28 today, but it was extremely hard to push. I gave 110% and I am satisfied with my result, but at the same time a bit sad for Pieter, who came really close to victory."

 

Impressive Louis Meintjes keeps form in first Vuelta test

Vuelta a Espana proposed the first ascents in the final part of the 3rd stage, Marin-Dumbria Mirador de Ezaro of 174,6 km with the sumit arrival on a hill of 1300 meters of distance and average with gradient of 13,8%.

The climbing roads gave LAMPRE-MERIDA some fairly good feedbacks from its riders: Meintjes was 13th at 56" while Conti tried an attack in the early meters of the Mirador de Ezaro.

"We regret the absence of our riders in the main breakaway, because it's our priority to join the interesting attacks and also because Geniez, who was in the breakaway, won the stage,” sports director Pedrazzini commented. “On the final hill, Conti was fast in approaching the climb in the head positions. Meintjes demonstrated fairly good legs by recovering positions in the second part of the hill thanks to his regular pace after he had lost meters in the early part".

 

Pierre Latour: The goal is to discover my limits

Pierre Latour (Ag2R-La Mondiale) finished in the top 15. He said:“

 

On the climb, we climbed as best we could with JC (Peraud). I tried to accelerate in the end and I managed to make it back on the tail of the Contador group. This climb is steep, with concrete sections, it doesn’t help. Now I’m a little bit worried about doing that kind of efforts too often. I will see, it’s a first for me. The goal is to discover and if I’m not too well placed in the GC, to try and win a stage: do the best I can.”

 

Jose Goncalves: I had expected to do better

The Caja Rural - Seguros RGA riders put up a great fight on Monday’s undulating stage 3 of Vuelta a España with a spectacular finish on Mirador de Ézaro.

Ángel Madrazo was the first rider to attack from the peloton as soon as the official start was given. The pack didn’t let him get away but soon after, a group of seven riders - with David Arroyo - managed to create a gap. 

Mingling with the top favorites was Caja Rural - Seguros RGA’s José Gonçalves. The 27-year-old Portuguese had marked this stage in the road book prior to the race and was very eager to show off the team colors on the steep gradients towards the finish line. At the end, Gonçalves finished the day in 18th place as Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) took the win after distancing his breakaway companions and keeping the charging chase group at bay. In the general classification, Gonçalves is now 32nd as the team’s best-placed rider. Ruben Fernandez (Movistar) is new overall leader of the race.

José Gonçalves said: 

 

“My legs were not bad today but I must admit I thought I would be able to do a bit better. On the first part of the last climb, we were only eight riders left in the front group; some from Movistar and Orica and then Contador and myself. I tried to follow them but the final part was very hard with gradients over 20 %. I gave it my all but it just wasn’t enough today. Now, I will look forward to tomorrow’s stage. If the legs are good, I may be able to try something”.

 

Impressive Simon Pellaud: I am here to earn a contract for 2017

"I am here to earn a contract for 2017, and I hope that my name on the TV will spur on the offers,” IAM’s Simon Pellaud said.

 

“I am guilty of racing without proper confidence because I did not think that I could follow climbers like Geniez, Arroyo, and Serry over those first two climbs. So I took off after the mountain’s jersey. I am disappointed because in the end, a rider from the break went to the finish. If I had saved myself a little more, I could have even dreamed of the leader’s jersey because I was ahead of Geniez in the overall classification.

 

“I thought I’d have a quiet day in the peloton. But I tried my luck once, and that was the break that stuck. I enjoyed it because I am comfortable in these weather conditions. And I am satisfied with my winning the red bib number as the most aggressive rider for the stage. I succeeded on mounting the podium for a stage in a grand tour, and that is an accomplishment I won’t quickly forget.

 

“It was not really planned like this at the start. Today, I was hoping to keep forces for the next stages. It was not exactly it! But I saw an opening after a quarter of an hour and I managed to join the break. Afterwards, we were seven in the front, pacing hard. I told myself that I could even try to go for the KOM. I managed to take the first but then I didn’t see them coming back on me. I tried everything to take the second climb but I was 500 metres short.

 

”I showed the jersey today, I really enjoyed myself a lot. It was one of the best days of my career on the bike.

 

”When I was caught by the big guys, I told myself I would have liked to finish on the podium of course, but I tried to climb at my own pace. We needed one minute more at the bottom. But that’s cycling.”

 

Mario Chiesa, the directeur sportif for IAM Cycling along with Marcello Albasini and Eddy Seigneur, explained:

 

 “Simon Pellaud applied the instructions we gave the team at the morning meeting, and joined the breakaway for the day. He started off well and even crested the initial climb, which was a third category, as the first rider over the top. Unfortunately, his legs lost some snap on the second category climb.  He was missing only a few hundred meters in order to get the full points there, which would likely have given him the jersey as the best climber. He then did manage to bridge back up to the leading duo that had passed him at the top of the climb, but it was a mission impossible to hold on throughout the final climb. He was just out of strength. The experience he has gained from this stage will likely help Simon score something big, even during this Vuelta. He really deserves it because he has worked hard since the beginning of the season.”


 

Michele Scarponi: This makes me optimistic that I can go for GC in the Vuelta

"Compared to the Vuelta a Burgos my condition is definitely growing,” said Michele Scarponi. "I came close to the best riders and this gives me hope for the future of this Vuelta. I'd like to point to the overall standings.”

 

No major injuries for Miguel Angel Lopez

Miguel Angel Lopez, who fell in the final part of the third stage of the Vuelta a España, has reported the partial rupture of three teeth as well bruises on various parts of the body. In agreement with the medical staff of Astana Pro Team, the young Colombian talent will be at the start of the fourth stage. 

 

Rudiger Selig: Maybe it was the wrong stage for a sprinter like me

The day started again very well for BORA – ARGON 18. A small group went away from the peloton after 10k, then Rüdiger Selig was in the counter attack of 3 riders who managed to bridge the gap to the leaders.  Selig showed a strong performance as well and fought his way back to the chasing group several times on the decents.

 

As best rider from BORA – ARGON 18 Bartosz Huzarski made a good race in the last kilometres and could finish in 26th place. Je also climbed up in the general classification to 19th spot, 2:01 behind the new leader Rubén Fernandez (Movistar Team). BORA - ARGON 18 team leader José Mendes finished just a few seconds behind Huzarski and still is in good position for the GC.

 

"Today was not the type of climb that suits me, so I am happy that I did not lose too much time. Tomorrow will see better how my condition is but I hope that my legs come better now from day to day,” said José Mendes

 

“I said that I wanted to try something one day. Maybe not the best day for a sprinter like me to be in the break, but it was ok in the beginning up there. I tried to present our colours as long as possible but the final was too hard for me. Our DS told me that the peloton was not chasing too hard and we might have a chance to get to the finish, so my motivation was really high and I came back to the group a few times in the downhills. When I saw the 30% sign on the final climb I had to lean onto the handlebar to not flip over the back,” said Rüdiger Selig.

 

Katusha: Our goal is to be in the breakaways in the next few stages

Stage three in the 71st Vuelta a España on Monday got right down to testing the legs on the steep summit finish of Mirador de Ézaro. It was hard enough to just deal with the climbs on today’s route, but add in the hot, hot weather and it was a tough day on the bike for Team KATUSHA and the riders taking part in the Spanish tour.

 

”The finish today is one of the hardest climbs we have in cycling. It was difficult for our riders, especially with these hot temperatures. Some of the riders coming to the team bus at the end were completely dehydrated and needed water. This made it extra hard today. It was around 36-degrees all day and we had a hard parcours on the climbs. Some of the sections were done without water because on the downhill sections between the climbs the cars cannot safely get to the riders. We don’t have a GC rider for this type of stage so our goal remains to go in the breaks and go for stage wins. Today’s win came from a rider in the breakaway and as we expected, Movistar controlled the race. These next few days are ones suited to us to be in the break,” said team director José Azevedo.

 

Team KATUSHA’s Alberto Losada, Egor Silin, Matvey Mamykin and Tiago Machado were close enough to the GC contenders, losing around 1 minute only.

 

Fabio Felline targets GC at the Vuelta a Espana

Riccardo Zoidl (38th) and Haimar Zubeldia (42nd) were the first across the finish for Trek-Segafredo (+1'32"), and Fabio Felline arrived moments later in 47th place (+1'50").

 

"Our plan was to help Fabio as much as possible and see what he could do today, but honestly, from all the stages in the race, this was the worst finish for him," explained director Dirk Demol. "We will see over the next stages how our GC plays out and look at it day by day. We will have a clearer picture in four or five days.

 

"Coming into the race our goals were for Fabio to ride for a high place in the overall and a stage win. We don't want to put too much pressure on Fabio's shoulders looking at how far he had to come back after his injury. So our tactic now is let's see what happens over the next days because we may change our focus to trying for stage wins and forget about the GC."

 

Steven Kruijswijk loses time: I paid for my illness

Steven Kruijswijk lost two minutes and two seconds when the Vuelta a España’s third stage finished up the steep ramps of the Mirador de Ézaro. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s leader finished 53rd behind winner Alexandre Geniez (FDJ). Ruben Fernandez (Movistar) is the new overall leader.

 

“We’re fed up with this, but we still have 18 stages to go,” Sports Director Jan Boven said. “We didn’t start this Vuelta perfectly because Steven Kruijswijk got sick after the Olympic Games. The team time trial went surprisingly well when you’re looking at it from that point of view, but the heavy stages like today and tomorrow come a little bit too early for him. Steven wants to compete with the best, but after his preparation, it’s all about limiting the damage as little as possible.

 

“It didn’t turn out the way we wanted, today. He shouldn’t have lost much fitness, anyway, because he has been able to complete preparation up through the Olympic Games. He just lost his top form after being sick. From now on, he has to make sure that he improves during this race.”

 

Kruijswijk was disappointed.

 

“I started this Vuelta with ambitions, so you want to finish among the best riders on the first summit finish,” Kruijswijk said. “I wasn’t able to do that, today, clearly. I didn’t feel strong. The only reason I can give is my illness in the past weeks, which was the reason that I haven’t been able to train a lot. I slipped back a little bit and I have to make sure that I’m able to improve in this race to make the most of it. I’m confident about tomorrow in some way because I feel fit and healthy again. I’m not in my best shape, but I’m expecting to improve in the upcoming days.

 

"I was really bad. On the final climb I couldn't do anything, so I lost a lot of time I think. Now we'll have to wait and see how I recover. This is not the normal level I have so I don't know…"

 

"I was a little bit sick before the race and so maybe I have to come in and find my form. It was a really hot day and I was suffering on the last bit, I couldn't do anymore."

 

Disappointed Warren Barguil abandons the Vuelta

Warren Barguil (FRA) has unfortunately been forced to abandon the Vuelta a España on the third stage due to sinus problems. Barguil didn't get a chance to test himself on the climbs, stepping off the bike mid-way through the stage to Mirador de Ézaro, the first hill-top finish of the race.

Barguil came to Spain hoping to be competitive in racing for stage results in the tough mountain stages, however after the problems started yesterday they worsened during today's hot stage, forcing him to retire from the race.

Team physician Mannes Naeff (NED) gave further insight into the issues: "Warren is suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection. In the race he has difficulties with breathing and if that’s not quickly improving Grand Tour racing is over. Yesterday morning it started as he was tired and feeling not fit, which got worse yesterday evening. In the morning it didn’t improve so we decided to give it a final try, which didn’t succeed in the heat."
 
Barguil told: "It’s a big disappointment. To go for stage success in the Vuelta was my second big goal of the season and now due to bad luck I have to abandon so early. Yesterday morning it started with minor pain to my throat and nose, and yesterday after the stage and this morning it got worse. We decided to try and go for it, but it didn’t turn out to be the case."
 
Coach Luke Roberts (AUS) added: "It’s a big loss for the team. We are going for stage success here in Spain and in respect to that our approach won’t change too much. Obviously our chances are weakened without Warren, especially on the more difficult uphill stages. We still have a lot of riders motivated to try something in breakaway and a team to create as many sprint opportunities for Nikias [Arndt]."

Coach Arthur van Dongen told after the stage: “The plan was to go for the break today, since it was a stage that could offer opportunities to stay clear. Unluckily we didn’t succeed and next to that we lost a rider who can go for stage results in Warren, which is unfortunate. The next days will offer some new opportunities and we will be sure to go for them.”

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