A little over two years after his stint as the Tour de France race leader, Rohan Dennis' time in the red Vuelta a Espana's leaders jersey also lasted just one day. The Australian and his BMC team were aiming to parachute Daniel Oss into the red jersey only for Quick-Step-Floors with Yves Lampaert to steal in for the win and race lead.
Having lost the jersey, 27-year-old Dennis explained he isn't overly concerned to have dropped down to sixth place overall.
"The stage was nervous from the start to the finish. Not one part of the race was relaxed where you felt like you could sit back in the peloton with no risk," said Dennis. "I was hoping that Daniel Oss could take the jersey at the end of the stage so every now and then I tried to help him move up in the final 15km. In the end, the time bonus was taken by Quickstep Floors and we couldn't do much about losing the jersey.
With several other goals for the remaining 19 stages in the race, Dennis added his next immediate aim is stage three into Andorra which is the first opportunity for the general classification riders to test their rivals.
"Time loss isn't a massive issue for me, it was more of a pride thing or not just sitting up and being lazy," he said. "I'm motivated to try and get a result in Andorra but the legs have to agree with what my head wants. It's a tough stage and will be interesting how the GC guys ride it."
At three seconds to Lampaert, Oss could potentially take the red leader's jersey on stage 3 but the Italian explained his aim was to secure the jersey in the sprint finale.
"Personally, I was focused on the red jersey. We were just a few guys in a short time," said Oss, who leads the combination classification. "Quickstep did a good race in the final as I was alone and they put us in the box. As soon as they had the gap, the only thing we could do was to try and bring them back and get some bonus seconds for third place. I couldn't have done anything better than what I did so I'm happy."
Alongside Dennis and Oss, BMC also has Tejay van Garderen and Nico Roche inside the top six overall and the latter of the quartet is ready for the challenge. Roche, who leads the mountains classification, has won two stages of the Spanish Grand Tour and worn the red jersey and explained he is aiming for further success into Andorra la Vella
"I've done almost all of the climbs before and they're very hard," said Roche. "Andorra is always typically the stage everybody looks forward to and that everybody is a bit worried about. Sometimes it's easier for GC guys to manage uphill finishes, whereas finishes at the bottom are a bit more of a cat and mouse game. With the technical descents, it's a bit more tactical too and not just about the legs."
Stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana is short at 158.5km with three categorised climbs including the category one Col de la Perche and Coll de la Rabassa climbs before the category two Alto de la Comella. The stage, starting in Prades Conflent Canigó, concludes in Andorra la Vella after the descent off the Alto de la Comella.