Vuelta a Espana 2018

August 25 - September 16, 2018, Malaga, Spain, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Patrick Fletcher


For the latest updates, please refresh this page


Vuelta a España 2018 hub page
Vuelta a España 2018 start list
Valverde takes tumultuous stage 2
Filling the power vacuum – Vuelta preview
Dennis, Porte fade from contention in Vuelta a España


  1. 12:42:19 CEST

    Hola! It's stage 3 of the Vuelta and today we have a first opportunity for the sprinters...maybe. The Vuelta doesn't really do flat stages, and this one contains a big first-category climb followed by a third-category climb in the first half of the parcours. The second half is easier but still up and down, meaning the sprinters and their teams have their work cut out if they are to control what will likely be a keen breakaway and bring about a first - and rare - opportunity at this Vuelta. 

  2. 12:43:40 CEST

    Here's the profile



  3. 12:50:24 CEST

    Before we get underway, let's recap yesterday's action. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the uphill sprint at the Caminito del Rey, edging out Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), who moved into the red jersey of overall leader after Rohan Dennis lost 13 minutes. A full report, full results, and a photo gallery can be found at the link below. 


    Vuelta a España: Valverde wins stage 2



  4. 12:51:05 CEST

    Here's how it stands on GC


    1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 4:22:40
    2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:14
    3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:25
    4 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:28
    5 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:30
    6 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
    7 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:32
    8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:33
    9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
    10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:35
    11 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:37
    12 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
    13 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:42
    14 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
    15 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:43
    16 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
    17 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:44
    18 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:45
    19 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:47
    20 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:48


  5. 12:55:59 CEST

  6. 12:57:25 CEST

    Here's Kwiatkowski in the red jersey



  7. 13:03:49 CEST

    The riders are rolling. After a short neutralised zone, the race will be underway in a few minutes' time. 

  8. 13:10:42 CEST

    One rider who could be in with a shout today is Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), winner of four stages last year. He should be in good shape, having recently become European champion, and the hillier nature of this stage should suit him well. Here he is this morning shoving ice down his back - it's another hot one in the south of Spain. 



  9. 13:14:49 CEST

    They're off!


    The flag is waved and the racing is underway. Here comes the fight for the breakaway.


  10. 13:22:26 CEST

    We have an early breakaway of six riders. They are:


    Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale)

    Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac)

    Jordi Simón (Burgos-BH)

    Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

    Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis)

    Héctor Sáez (Euskadi-Murias)


  11. 13:24:21 CEST

    2:15 is the gap after 7 kilometres as Sky come to the front of the peloton and allow the sextet to head up the road. 


  12. 13:34:43 CEST

    It was a bad day yesterday for BMC Racing in their final Grand Tour before the merger with CCC. Not only did Dennis slip out of the overall lead, but Richie Porte also lost 13 minutes, ending any hopes he had of contesting the GC. The Australian had sought to play down his chances but it seems he was affected by illness on the eve of the race and he will now have to get through the opening week before maybe targeting stages in the final week as he sharpens his form for the World Championships. 


    You can hear from Porte and Dennis in our story on the pair from yesterday


  13. 13:37:08 CEST

    Dennis and Porte weren't the only big names to suffer yesterday. Vincenzo Nibali, who broke a vertebra at the Tour de France, lost four minutes, while Ilnur Zakarin crashed and lost a minute, with pain reported in his shoulder this morning. Also Peter Sagan, who some had tipped for the win yesterday, was some way off the pace. The world champion might have been among the favourites for today but after yesterday that doesn't seem so likely.

  14. 158.2km remaining from 178.2km

    13:40:40 CEST

    After 20km, the six escapees have a lead of three minutes over the peloton.


  15. 13:42:33 CEST

    We're approaching the first climb of the day


    Puerto del Madroño

    Category 1





  16. 13:52:13 CEST

    This break has a familiar feel about it, with Rolland, Maté, and Sáez all up the road yesterday, as well. As a result, Maté is wearing the white and blue spotted jersey as leader of the mountains classification, and will no doubt be looking to add to his tally at the top of this climb. 


  17. 13:54:26 CEST

    Incidentally, Maté has the added motivating of racing in his home region of Málaga.


    "I'm thrilled to be here and hope to have a good day," he said this morning. "It's always nice to be on the podium at such an important race as the Vuelta. Today's a hard day, with the Madroño, and we'll try to get ourselves up front."


    Job done.

  18. 14:07:25 CEST

    The breakaway riders are a third of the way up the Madroño and have extended their lead to four minutes.


  19. 14:13:03 CEST

    Our top story today is the big news that Aqua Blue Sport will fold at the end of the season. You might remember them making their Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta last year, and winning a stage, but they have struggled for invites this year and, after a failed merger with the Verandas Willems Crelan team, announced they will not continue in 2019, even if they hope to return to the peloton "some time in the future".


    Here's the full story.


  20. 14:16:34 CEST

    The six breakaway riders covered 37.5km in the first hour of racing.


  21. 14:23:40 CEST

    Interestingly, today's stage is considered to be one for the sprinters but they will not be enjoying this climb at the moment. There is still one more climb to go, plus some undulating terrain, and even the technical director Kiko Garcia isn't too sure that the billing of a sprinter's day is really true. 


    "It’s supposed to be the first sprinters stage. But they should be wary of the course, with a long climb again at the start. If the pace is high, legs will already feel tired. And then there’s more uphill ground, the heat, the wind… On paper, there are quite some downhills for sprinters to get back but I’m not 100% positive. Yesterday, Bouhanni looked good, Viviani should be there too. With Sagan, you never know. Maybe he just saw he didn’t have the legs and let go, and he could be good today. We have a strong field with the world champion, the European champion and the Italian champion," Garcia said of today's stage.


  22. 14:28:39 CEST

    With the top of the first climb in sight, the gap to the escapees is hovering around the four-minute mark.


  23. 14:31:23 CEST

    This is what the mountains classification looked like after yesterday's stage. 


    1 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 11 pts
    2 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 5
    3 Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 4
    4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 3
    5 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 2
    6 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 1
    7 Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1


  24. 14:39:00 CEST

    Mikel Landa is not at the Vuelta a Espana after fracturing a vertebra at San Sebastian earlier this month. However, he's still creating some headlines with Astana boss Alexandre Vinokourov saying that he's looking to sign his former rider. Read the full story here.


  25. 14:44:54 CEST

    As the leading group crests the top of the first climb, the gap falls slightly to 3:47. Team Sky has been doing much of the pulling on the front but Quick-Step Floors have put several riders to the front to look after things for Elia Viviani.


  26. 14:46:54 CEST

    Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, we get confirmation that Mate took the points at the top to extend his lead in the mountains classification. 


  27. 14:51:11 CEST

    Here was the peloton a short while ago as Team Sky controlled things on the front. 


  28. 121km remaining from 178.2km

    14:56:34 CEST

    Official results from the Puerto del Madroño. Mate now has 21 points in the mountains classification. 


    1. Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), 10 pts
    2. Pierre Rolland (Education First-Drapac), 6 pts
    3. Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale), 4 pts
    4. Jordi Simon (Burgos-BH), 2 pts
    5. Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias), 1 pt


  29. 15:06:29 CEST

    Quick-Step are leading the peloton down this descent. The gap stands at three minutes and Viviani is in tow so they'll be happy with the situation at the minute.


  30. 15:14:56 CEST

    The break have just gone through the picturesque city of Ronda, perched atop a canyon, with a spectacular bridge separating the new and old towns. The road will soon be heading uphill again for the second climb of the day. 


  31. 15:21:43 CEST

    The riders are on the second and final categorised climb of the day. It's the Puerto del Viento, which means 'climb of the wind'. It's 10km long but only 3.3% in gradient. 


  32. 97km remaining from 178.2km

    15:30:25 CEST

    On the climb the gap has come down to two minutes.

  33. 15:36:07 CEST

    There's no real urgency yet in the peloton as riders stop for toilet breaks. It's still Quick-Step on the front tapping out a steady tempo.


  34. 15:41:00 CEST

    And now an injection of pace as Maté sprints with the KOM banner in sight.


  35. 15:41:50 CEST

    And Maté does indeed bag himself three more points to extend his lead in that jersey. Rolland was second again.


  36. 15:42:48 CEST

    Peter Sagan is right at the back as the peloton approaches the summit.


  37. 88km remaining from 178.2km

    15:50:21 CEST

    Here's a reminder of the stage profile



  38. 15:52:05 CEST

    Ion and Gorka Izagirre are both out there racing but it has just been announced that the brothers will leave Bahrain-Merida and ride for Astana for next season. Here's the story:


    Izagirre brothers sign for Astana


  39. 15:59:28 CEST

    The riders are hurtling downhill once more en route to the feed zone.


  40. 78km remaining from 178.2km

    16:04:59 CEST

    The gap has nudged up again to 2:20 as the riders take their musettes. It's a late lunch in the typically Andalucían setting of rolling roads flanked by parched olive groves. 


  41. 16:06:35 CEST

    It's Kasper Asgreen on the front for Quick-Step. The Danish neo-pro is being put straight to work in his debut Grand Tour. 


  42. 16:08:33 CEST

    And now the gap comes tumbling down as the break get through their lunch. It currently stands at 1:22.


  43. 16:10:45 CEST

    We speculated that this stage could be a tricky one for the sprint teams and a potential opportunity for the break, but so far there have been no issues whatsoever. In fact, the main danger for Quick-Step at the moment would probably be catching the break too early, and thus opening the door to potentially more dangerous counter attacks later on from fresher riders.


  44. 16:20:24 CEST

    After three hours of racing, the average speed of the day is a lowly 35.1km/h. That can perhaps be attributed to the stiff headwind that has been blowing pretty much since they turned out of Ronda. 


  45. 67km remaining from 178.2km

    16:28:33 CEST

    The gap remains stable at 1:18 and the breakaway riders are chatting to each other. They look like they're out for a club run to be honest. I don't think even they have any belief whatsoever they can cause an upset, so at the moment we're just ambling along towards a bunch sprint finish.


  46. 16:30:45 CEST

    Quick-Step have been doing all the work today, not that the pace has been too taxing. They have the favourite here in Elia Viviani, who is one of the most successful sprinters of the season and now wearing the tricolore of Italian national champion. As well as form - he won the Hamburg Classic last weekend - he also has his strongest lead-out, with Michael Morkov and Fabio Sabatini. 


  47. 16:32:53 CEST

    The riders are on the latter part of the descent towards the final 50km. 


  48. 16:39:31 CEST

    Our top story today is the big news that Aqua Blue Sport will fold at the end of the season. You might remember them making their Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta last year, and winning a stage, but they have struggled for invites this year and, after a failed merger with the Verandas Willems Crelan team, announced they will not continue in 2019, even if they hope to return to the peloton "some time in the future".



    Here's the full story.



  49. 16:42:16 CEST

    Bora-Hansgrohe have placed a representative on the front of the bunch now. Perhaps Sagan is feeling better than yesterday.


  50. 16:42:23 CEST

    Puncture for Rolland in the break


  51. 16:43:16 CEST

    Rolland drops back to the peloton, who are just 55 seconds behind the break. 


  52. 16:55:06 CEST

    The gap still stands at 1 minute, with 46km to go.


  53. 16:55:42 CEST

    A reminder that we now have five riders in the break. They are:


    Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale)

    Jordi Simón (Burgos-BH)

    Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

    Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis)

    Héctor Sáez (Euskadi-Murias)


  54. 17:00:19 CEST

    The riders are heading uphill once more and will do so until the intermediate sprint with 26km to go. It doesn't seem to have been a taxing day but the elevation gain will nevertheless add up and might perhaps be a factor in the sprint. 


  55. 17:02:05 CEST

    Some action!


    Yes, really. A counter attack has just pinged off the front of the bunch. There are two from Lotto Soudal and one from Bora. 


  56. 17:02:38 CEST

    It's Victor Campenaerts and Jelle Wallays for Lotto, and Lukas Postlberger for Bora. 


  57. 17:04:07 CEST

    And now another one joins the fun. It's Alexis Gougeard (AG2R), who was in the break yesterday - and indeed most of the days he pins a race number on.


  58. 17:04:54 CEST

    No panic from Quick-Step for the moment.

  59. 17:05:21 CEST

    Jordi Simon attacks from the break as the chasers come into the rearview mirror.


  60. 17:05:49 CEST

    Campenaerts, Wallays, Gougeard, and Postlberger reach the four remaining breakaway riders.


  61. 41km remaining from 178.2km

    17:07:32 CEST

    So, we now have a lone leader - Jordi Simon - with 8 chasers at 17 seconds and the peloton at 49 seconds.


  62. 17:10:37 CEST

    Quick-Step are back on the front and the pace has been increased in response to the added impetus in the break. 


  63. 17:11:03 CEST

    Jordi Simon is caught. We now have 9 riders out front with a lead of 44 seconds over the peloton.


  64. 17:14:23 CEST

    Jelle Wallays is dropped from the break.


  65. 36.5km remaining from 178.2km

    17:15:45 CEST

    Peters drives the break on, with Gougeard in the wheel. 44 seconds is the gap. 


  66. 17:18:21 CEST

    Here was Viviani at the start this morning, in his Italian champion's jersey



  67. 30km remaining from 178.2km

    17:26:19 CEST

    The breakaway riders are still giving it everything. They'll soon be at the intermediate sprint back at Mijas. 



  68. 17:26:38 CEST

    The gap is down to half a minute. 


  69. 17:29:01 CEST

    The breakaway riders hit 70km/h on a downhill section but then the road tips uphill once more, and that's it for Nans Peters, who has been out front since the start. 


  70. 17:29:20 CEST

    While Peters is spat out of the back, Jordi Simon once again attacks out of the front. 


  71. 17:30:55 CEST

    The stage profile looks hilly enough but it really doesn't do justice to how 'up-and-down' this day has been. 


  72. 17:31:32 CEST

    Simon is caught by the remaining breakaway riders. So we have 7 out front with a gap of 30 seconds over the peloton. 


  73. 17:33:42 CEST

    Here comes the intermediate sprint. The break just roll through it, more interested in trying to stay away. It looks like Gougeard will take maximum points by virtue of being on the front of the group as they crossed the line. 


  74. 24km remaining from 178.2km

    17:34:21 CEST

    The gap is down to 20 seconds, with 24km to go.


  75. 17:34:53 CEST

    Crash! Campenaerts is down.


  76. 17:35:57 CEST

    The Belgian had been pressing on on the false flat section, and had even put Gougeard in difficulty. When the road titled downhill again, though, he was too keen, and overcooked a right-hand bend. 


  77. 17:36:13 CEST

    Campenaerts is ok to continue.


  78. 17:37:11 CEST

    Movistar have taken over at the front of the bunch as the descent continues.


  79. 17:38:16 CEST

    Postlberger is keen to kick on in the break and he's opened up a gap over the rest of the escapees.


  80. 17.5km remaining from 178.2km

    17:41:12 CEST

    Héctor Sáez has been dropped so it's Maté, Gougeard, Molina, and Simón chasing Postlberger. 10 seconds is the gap. 


  81. 17:43:11 CEST

    It's still Movistar leading down the descent. 25 seconds is the gap to the front of the race. 


  82. 13km remaining from 178.2km

    17:45:50 CEST

    13km to go and still Postlberger leads solo as the crowds thicken in town. 


  83. 17:46:32 CEST

    If not Viviani, then who?

    Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) suffered yesterday, so perhaps won't be counted among the favourites today. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), four-time stage winner last year and the recently-crowned European champion, should be in the mix. Other sprinters here include Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), who'll be itching for a win after being snubbed by his team for the Tour de France, and Giaccomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo), who has only won one race all season. Other outsiders include Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo), Max Walscheid (Sunweb), Marc Sarreau (FDJ), and Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data).


  84. 17:47:34 CEST

    Gougeard has attacked the other chasers and is now in solo pursuit of Postlberger. 


  85. 17:48:37 CEST

    Gougeard and the rest are caught by the peloton.


  86. 17:48:57 CEST

    Quick-Step have taken back control of the peloton. Just Postlberger left out front. 


  87. 10km remaining from 178.2km

    17:49:12 CEST

    Last 10km!


    Postlberger has 10 seconds.


  88. 17:50:55 CEST

    Movistar hit the front once more. 


  89. 17:52:11 CEST

    Postlberger is still at 10 seconds but the peloton can see him now as they come onto a long, straight highway. 


  90. 6.5km remaining from 178.2km

    17:52:32 CEST

    The gap comes down to five seconds and the catch is imminent. 


  91. 17:53:03 CEST

    Postlberger eases up and pulls to the side of the road. He gives a wave to the crowds and lets the sprint trains get on with it. 


  92. 17:53:17 CEST

    All together! 6km to go


  93. 17:53:49 CEST

    Movistar have three men on the front, followed by Kwiatkowski's Sky. 


  94. 17:55:14 CEST

    The GC teams will want to get to that 3km-to-go safety net, but it's surprising that the sprint trains aren't winding up yet, with just over 5km to go. 


  95. 17:55:52 CEST

    Trek are now lining up on the right for Nizzolo


  96. 17:56:37 CEST

    Sagan, Bouhanni, and Van Poppel are all up towards the front. Viviani nowhere to be seen at the moment.


  97. 4km remaining from 178.2km

    17:56:59 CEST

    4km to go. Big left-hand turn. Movistar raise the pace once more.


  98. 17:57:44 CEST

    Bora put Davide Formolo on the front. The pace isn't high yet.


  99. 17:58:13 CEST

    Final 3km. This still isn't winding up.


  100. 17:58:36 CEST

    Jay McCarthy is on the front now, with Sagan on his wheel. 


  101. 17:58:53 CEST

    Morkov has brought Viviani up towards the front now.


  102. 2km remaining from 178.2km

    17:59:23 CEST

    2km to go and it's a draggy approach on these false flat roads. LottoNL hit the front now.


  103. 18:00:04 CEST

    LottoNL take a roundabout in pole position and are set to lead this out.


  104. 1km remaining from 178.2km

    18:00:12 CEST

    Flamme rouge!


  105. 18:00:26 CEST

    An FDJ rider kicks on now as the bunch strings out.


  106. 18:00:45 CEST

    A Caja Rural rider goes from range.


  107. 18:00:58 CEST

    Van Poppel opens up


  108. 18:01:12 CEST

    But Morkov leads Viviani out, and here he goes...


  109. 18:01:30 CEST

    Viviani takes it with a powerful sprint, beating Nizzolo.


  110. 18:01:50 CEST

    Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a España.


  111. 18:03:37 CEST

    Great work from Quick-Step there, with Morkov delivering Viviani at just the right moment. No one else had a teammate at that point. Once Viviani went it was a commanding turn of speed and a convincing victory. 


  112. 18:03:49 CEST

    Sagan took third place there, Bouhanni fourth.


  113. 18:09:55 CEST

    "It was beautiful," says Viviani, who wins his first Vuelta stage. 


    "I have no words, again, for the team. Being the strongest is difficult because nobody helps to pull. It was just Sky working until the end of the big climb. We used Pieter Serry and the young Kasper Asgreen really to pull all day. It's difficult to control a stage like this but we wanted it, and every time we commit like that, 90 per cent of the time we are in one line controlling. That's being a team. All day we go for one goal. Yesterday we were close with [Laurens] De Plus], and today we were very focused. We didn't know if we would win or not, because with 3000m of elevation gain it's not an easy sprint, but the Vuelta is always like that.


    "I'm really happy. This wonderful season continues..."

  114. 18:10:16 CEST

    Top 10

    1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 04:48:12
    2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
    3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
    4 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
    5 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
    6 Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
    7 Michael Morkov (Den) Quick-Step Floors
    8 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
    9 Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data
    10 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale


  115. 18:14:13 CEST

    General Classification after stage 3


    1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 09:10:52
    2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:14
    3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:25
    4 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:28
    5 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:30
    6 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
    7 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:32
    8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:00:33
    9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
    10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:35


  116. 18:22:32 CEST

    That's win number 15 of the season for Viviani, for whom the decision to leave Sky for Quick-Step looks increasingly inspired - both on his part and that of Patrick Lefevere, who shipped out Marcel Kittel, with the German stuck on two wins this year. 


    Viviani hit four at the Giro - can he do the same again in Spain?


  117. 18:25:17 CEST


  118. 18:44:05 CEST

    Here's our stage report page


    Vuelta a España: Viviani wins stage 3 sprint


  119. 18:54:42 CEST

    Tomorrow's stage 4 will see the first proper summit finish of the 2018 Vuelta



  120. 19:02:42 CEST

    We'll be back tomorrow for full live coverage of that stage. In the meantime, keep an eye on CN for all the reaction from today's stage. Hasta mañana!


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