The Saunier Duval-Prodir team had two riders in the break today, namely stage 3 winner Francisco Ventoso and David Millar. The latter sacrificed his chances to try to help the sprinter win but in the end the tough run in to the line and numerous attacks meant that Ventoso was fifth.
Despite that, team manager Mauro Gianetti said he was happy with their performance. "I think that our team is performing very well in this Vuelta," he stated. "Millar´s progress is really impressive, Ventoso has proved to be an out-and-out sprinter, and Gómez Marchante has great chances to keep his standing in the GC or even improve a little. All the other riders are in very good shape, including Piepoli, who will rise to the challenge in stages to come."
Millar said he realised early on that he was better to help Ventoso in his challenge. "I was on the limit most of the day," he told Cyclingnews a couple of minutes after the end of the stage. "I was really strong, but also on the limit. I knew I wasn't going well enough to win, so I had to make a decision. I figured it would be easier to try to keep it together for as long as possible to help Fran. He is a sprinter, he can't handle repeated accelerations, but if we go at one speed that helps him.
"We tried, anyway. Those are the sort of days that bring you form…well, they either bring you form or destroy you! I haven't done that in a long time, I had forgotten how hard it was. We were going very fast out there.
"It was also very humid, too. I really suffered for about 50 kilometres and I couldn't work out what was happening…I was like a hot dog, I was just panting. Then I put my hand on my jersey and worked out what it was – I was soaked from the humidity. So I just rolled up my jersey and kept going."
Ventoso told Spain's Onda Cero radio that he did all he could. "I rode with all the strengths that I had left at the finale; Paulinho came from behind and beat us.
"All the riders were good in the finale. You never knew which is the strongest. Paulinho, who went on others' wheels during the breakaway, showed he was the strongest at the finish line."