Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Today's stage finishes atop the Sierra de Bernia.
Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) leads the Spanish stage race after taking fifth on the stage 2 uphill finish and in the two sprint finishes.
Today's 170km stage will culminate with the ascent of the gruelling Sierra de Bernia (5.3km, 11.9%), a climb whose maximum ramps exceed 20%.
As we join the action with the Cyclingnews blimp, there are six riders away, including Matteo Trentin and Greg van Avermaet of the CCC Team.
The six are: Bilbao (BAH) Carboni (BCF) Declerq (DQT) Serrano (CJR) Van Avermaet (CCC) Trentin (CCC).
The peloton is at 2:50.
This was the roll out of the stage in the warm Spanish sun.
🚴♂️🚴♂️ Salida de la 3.ª etapa de la Vuelta Ciclista a la #ComunitatValenciana desde #Calp cc @VueltaCV @sabadellprensa #VCV2020 #Calpe #MarinaAlta #Alicante #Alacant pic.twitter.com/HokvRmmi1AFebruary 8, 2020
Here's Jack Haig in the leader's jersey on the start line.
#VCV2020 🟡 The breakaway of the day has established & 6 riders have opened up a gap of 2”40.Mitchelton-SCOTT are leading the steady chase in the main peloton. pic.twitter.com/ckOm3yupmPFebruary 8, 2020
This profile of the stage shows just how hard the Sierra de Bernia climb is.
After 50km of racing, the break leads by 2:40.
It's another busy day of racing around the globe. To catch up with the Herald Sin Tour, click here.
Race leader Jai Hindley (Sunweb) took his second stage victory at this year's Australian stage race on the summit finish at Mount Buller, Victoria, on Saturday, and in doing so extended his advantage in the general classification to 10 seconds over St George Continental's Sebastian Berwick.
After 70km of racing, the riders are climbing into the hills. They face three testing climbs, with the climb of Tudons touching 1000m and 6.9km long.
We have a correction, it is not Trentin in the break with van Avermaet but Nathan Van Hooydonck.
The six riders are in the break are:
Greg van Avermaet and Nathan Van Hooydonck (CCC Team), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren), Tim Declerq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural).
Txomin Juaristi (Fundación - Orbea) has been distanced.
The peloton is riding tempo and keeping the break under control at 2:50.
With 3/5 climbs ticked off today at #VCV2020 we're heading into the second half of the queen stage. @TeamINEOS riders all in the bunch, with six escapees up the road. pic.twitter.com/T6tYU7eJutFebruary 8, 2020
Meanwhile in the Saudi Tour, Phil Bauhaus has snatched overall victory by winning the final stage. He moved across the road, causing Nacer Bouhanni to ease up twice but kept the stage victory and won thanks to the time bonus.
For results click here and a photo of the sprint, click here.
Lo squillo di Phil #Bauhaus al #SaudiTour... ma occhio alla deviazione di traiettoria! 😱✅tappa✅Generale✅... e il "vaffa" di #Bouhanni! #EurosportCICLISMO | https://t.co/gDw7vWJkt5 pic.twitter.com/ZgesetyvabFebruary 8, 2020
Today's finish will be a real test of strength and form. These are the final metres.
Los últimos 300 metros son una pared...#VCV2020 pic.twitter.com/SMEMIYUTHyFebruary 8, 2020
The next 40km will see the peloton chase the break and begin to prepare for the final climb to the finish. Positioning will be key.
This is the climb up to the finish.
La sierra de Bernia pour l'autre arrivée de l'après-midi, sur la #VCV2020 pic.twitter.com/Wxxn6b6mxxFebruary 8, 2020
And this is the final 1500m of the climb to the finish. Brutal!
Les 1500 derniers mètres de la montée de Bernia. Ça se passe de commentaire #VCV2020 pic.twitter.com/i7MU08QUGPFebruary 8, 2020
This was the break on a descent a few minutes ago. They seem to be enjoying the sun.
86 KMRecordamos los cabeza de carrera23 DECLERCQ (DQT)61 VAN AVERMAET (CCC)67 VAN HOOYDONCK (CCC)115 BILBAO (TBM)126 SERRANO (CJR)172 CARBONI (BCF)Diferencia del pelotón con la escapada 1’ 50’#VCV2020 GP @BancoSabadell pic.twitter.com/2hsnsoHFiPFebruary 8, 2020
It's lunch time as the kilometres tock down.
🥗🍼 Lunchtime at #VCV2020 as we head into a flatter approach towards the decisive climb of Sierra Bernia. Gap always around 2'30" with just over 60km to go. MTS and UAD leading the bunch.📺 @Eurosport_ES 2 / À Punt (3pm CET)📱 @VueltaCV pic.twitter.com/27ovf7MwMqFebruary 8, 2020
There are 75km to go. This is the breakaway, with Tim Declerq leading the way.
75 kilometers to go on this queen stage of #VCV2020 and the front group which features @Tim_Declercq maintains a three-minute gap over the chasers.Photo: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/SuNwuQ7tRCFebruary 8, 2020
The break still leads by 2:40 but the chase is on.
Golden Greg van Avermaet is working hard in the break. He perhaps knows he has little chance of staying away but is looking for a hard day in the saddle as he works on his sprint form.
Mitchelton-Scott are leading the chase to protect Jack Haig's leadership. Behind them we can see the UAE, Movistar and Tam Ineos squads lined out protecting Pogacar, Valverde and Kwiatkowski.
It's hard in the saddle but the local riders and fans at the top of the final climb seem to be enjoying themselves.
Ambientazo en #Altea Sierra de Bernia preparado por Club Ciclista Altea en el final de la etapa reina #VCV2020 GP @BancoSabadell pic.twitter.com/CRoH2rTJmKFebruary 8, 2020
40km to go.
The high pace in the peloton has reduced the gap to 1:30 with 33km to go.
The peloton is lined out as it sweeps through the olive groves and huge green houses and holiday buildings.
However the breakaway riders are refusing to give up, working smoothly to try to stay away. It's a fast dash to the foot of the final climb.
25km to go!
The gap is down to 1:20 as the peloton ups the pace even more.
The road is flat and fast until the 5.1km climb up to Sierra Bernia. The climb has an average of 12 % with steep corners and easier sections.
20km to go.
It's crunch time at #VCV2020! In a few minutes they will hit the first slopes of Sierra de Bernia, one of the toughest climbs of the early season, where everything will be decided.February 8, 2020
As the road rises, the break's lead falls. It is less than a minute now.But they fight on.
An important reminder, there are no time bonuses at the finish of stages at the VCV. Every second won or lost out on the road and today's finish counts.
GC reminder: With no time bonuses at #VCV2020, seven riders are on the same time as leader Haig (MTS). That includes our own @taogeoghegan, with @GianniMoscon also just 7secs off yellow. 16km to go pic.twitter.com/UA6GA1O65LFebruary 8, 2020
#VCV2020 The gap to the leaders is starting to drop quickly as we draw nearer to the final climb. With 22km remaining they sit just 1"38 ahead. pic.twitter.com/LplE7G0hpXFebruary 8, 2020
15km to go. 10km to the foot of the final climb!
Serrano and Carboni have been dropped from the break, leaving just four riders up front. The peloton is at 30 seconds.
10km to go as Astana take over at the head of the peloton.
This is the gradient of the final climb. Look at all that red!
#VCV2020 Here’s a look at the gradients of today’s final climb😯🔝The breakaway riders are fighting on ahead, just 35seconds in front of the bunch with 12km to go to the finish. pic.twitter.com/kVgLikKcpgFebruary 8, 2020
8km to go. The peloton can almost see the break up the road now.
Here we go! The climb starts with a bang.
Nathan Van Hooydonck has been dropped but Bilbao, van Avermaet and Declerq refuse to give up.
But here comes the peloton packed with all the overall contenders.
4km to go.
British champion Ben Swift is doing the early work for Ineos.
Haig is just behind the Ineos trio.
Van Avermaet pushes on alone but he's going to be caught very soon.
Vamos, Vamos! Venga, Venga! The local crowd cheer on the riders from the roadside.
3km to go!
Van Avermaet is going deep.
The road has fresh asphalt, making it perfect for racing and riding.
Ineos take control in the peloton and Bilbao is caught. Only Golden Greg remains out front from the break of the day.
Pogacar is there, Haig too but Valverde is losing ground.
Boom! Pogacar surges away. It's early but he's got a gap.
Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos tries to limit the damage but is suffering.
Poels and Teuns are there for Bahrain.
Pogacar stomps on the pedals to fight the gravity. He's decided to ride his own high-speed race off the front.
Pogacar leads by 100m. He seems stronger than the others.
The road steepens, splitting the chase group. The 20 % graident makes it a battle of strength against gravity.
2km to go, 2km to climb.
As the gradient eases, Pogacar spins his legs a little. He seems in total control.
1km to go. The chase group has reformed but Pogacar is away alone.
Dan Martin attacks behind in pursuit.
The gradient has eased, helping Martin close the gap a little.
Martin is at his limit and closing the gap but might not catch Pogacar before the finish.
Pogacar stays in the saddle to put down max power. He's riding to victory.
This is a steep and nasty climb.
500m to go!
Poels kicks but Pogacar is nearing the finish.
Tadej Pogacar of UAE wins the stage!
Poels holds on to take second a few seconds back.
Tao Geoghegan Hart is also there, plus Haig.
However Pogacar is the new race leader with one stage to race.
That is Pogacar's tenth career win. He's only 21 but has already won the Tour of California, three stages at the Vuelta and the 2018 Tour de L'Avenir. He won three stages and finished third overall at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana- his first ever Grand Tour.
@DanMartin86 again fourth in Vuelta Valenciana. Like in stage two, he has three riders on a steep final climb finishing in front of him. #vcv2020 Full report follows. pic.twitter.com/2uBs4KcpdPFebruary 8, 2020
A superb ride from @taogeoghegan sees him finish in third place on the queen stage at #VCV2020. He crosses the line alongside Poels (TBM), around 5secs back on winner Pogacar (UAD) pic.twitter.com/khARMaBEwYFebruary 8, 2020
As riders cross the line, they are pushed by race staff and their soigneurs, such is the steep finish.
A road sign shows a gradient of 20%. It definitely was!
This is one of the first images of Pogacar winning.
.@TamauPogi del @TeamUAEAbuDhabi ganador de la etapa reina #VCV2020 GP @BancoSabadell con final en la Sierra de Bernia pic.twitter.com/cAIErIIuSlFebruary 8, 2020
And this is the top ten for the stage.
Top-10 on Stage 4 #VCV2020 pic.twitter.com/UZz8jHOcJBFebruary 8, 2020
Initial results show that Pogacar finished six seconds ahead of his rivals, despite attacking early. He will pull on the new yellow leader's jersey.
Sunday's Paterna to Valencia stage is largely flat and only 97km long, giving him a strong chance of overall victory.
Valverde finished more than a minute behind, age seems to be catching up with him. That's a piti.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates|
|2||Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren|
|3||Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos|
|4||Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|5||Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|6||Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain McLaren|
|7||Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team|
|8||Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|9||Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana Pro Team|
|10||Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Fundacion-Orbea|
Pogacar pulls on the leader's jersey.
Líder de la general @TamauPogi del @TeamUAEAbuDhabi #VCV2020 GP @BancoSabadell pic.twitter.com/OunGz3jS2VFebruary 8, 2020
Pogacar also pulls on the orange combinada jersey ands the white best young rider jersey.
The UAE team are already celebrating.
🥇Yes!!! @TamauPogi solos to victory atop the Sierra de Bernia and takes back the overall lead at @VueltaCV 🇪🇸!#UAETeamEmirates #RideTogether #VCV2020 pic.twitter.com/jUTWdQKgNhFebruary 8, 2020
Meanwhile other riders, including the sprinters and Dylan Groenewegen are just reaching the finish, careful to finish inside the time limit and save their legs for Sunday's final stage.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||16:38:28|
|2||Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:00:06|
|3||Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos|
|4||Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation||0:00:13|
|5||Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain McLaren||0:00:23|
|6||Wouter Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren||0:00:25|
|7||Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team||0:00:32|
|8||Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Fundacion-Orbea||0:00:49|
|9||Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana Pro Team||0:01:11|
|10||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:01:14|
|11||Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos||0:01:19|
|12||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team||0:01:22|
|13||James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|14||Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||0:01:36|
|15||Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:01:43|
Thanks for joining us for live coverage from the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. That was a huge performance by Pogacar.
To read our full report and see our growing stage report, click here.
We'll be back on Sunday with more live coverage from the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. We'll also have reports and photos from all the other race plus the latest news and interviews.
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