Mauricio Moreira conquers stage 3 atop Alto da Torre at Volta a Portugal

Mauricio Moreira won stage 3 of the Volta a Portugal
(Image credit: Twitter)

Mauricio Moreira (Glassdrive Q8 Anicolor) won the mountain-top finish to Alto da Torre on stage 3 of the Volta a Portugal. 

He was part of a trio of riders who launched an attack on the final climb and distanced all their rivals, with Luis Fernandes (Rádio Popular-Paredes-Boavista), who finished second, and Glassdrive teammate Frederico Figueiredo in third.

André Cardoso (ABTF Betão-Feirense) launched a solo attack in pursuit of the three leaders with two kilometres to go but had 1:38 to make up and eventually finished fourth at 1:44.

Moreira moved into the race lead after he began the day nine seconds behind GC and teammate Rafael Reis. Figueiredo is now second overall, 30 seconds back and Fernandes is third a second behind, both Portuguese riders vaulting into the top three with their ride on Alto da Torre.

"I don't think I've come to terms with reality yet. I only have one thing in mind, - the work that the team did. It was spectacular from start to finish. This triumph is practically all Fred’s [Figueiredo]," said Moreira after the finish.

In addition to the yellow jersey changing hands, so did the white best young rider jersey, which now belongs to Spaniard Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rura-Seguros RGA). North American Scott McGill (Wildlife Generation) continued to hold the green points jersey.

The 159km stage opened with a trio of classified mountains in the opening 73 kilometres. The mountain-top finish of Alto da Torre came on the final 20 kilometres, with billowing smoke from a wildfire visible from the final mountain. However organisers deemed it did not have an impact on the race itself as the smoke clouds remained in the distance.

With 68km to go and rolling roads leading to Alto da Torre, the breakaway had a 2:26 advantage, and held a similar time by the time the race had 25km to go. 

In the move were the USA’s Robin Carpenter (Human Powered Health), Pelayo Sánchez (Brugos-BH), Asier Etxeberria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Xavier Cañellas (Java Kiwi Atlántico), António Barbio (Tavfer-Mortágua-Ovos Matinados), Barry Miller (BAI-Sicasal-Petro de Luanda), Rafael Lourenco (Atum general-Tavira-Maria Novo Hotel15), Luis Gomes (Kelly-Simoldes-UDO), Alberto Gallego (Rádio Popular-Paredes-Boavista).

The bright fluorescent jerseys of Glassdrive/Q8/Anicolor and race leader Rafael Reis set the pace in the peloton, with Burgos-BH in purple also at the front.

With 21km to go, Carpenter, Etxeberria, Barbio, Gomes Gallego and Miller maintained a gap of 1:21 on the peloton. The American was the first to be dropped as the pace picked up along with the elevation gain above the treetops of the final climb.

With 19km to go, the attacks began from the peloton and riders were spread across the mountain. Gomes was the final rider in the breakaway to be caught and passed by Figueiredo with 16km to go.

Moreira began chasing along with Fernandez and they joined Figuieredo with 14km to go. A small band of five riders were in pursuit at one minute back but race leader Reis was not there.

Inside 10km the Glassdrive duo and Fernandez had 55 seconds on chaser Cardoso and another 20 seconds on the quintet of Carvalho, Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), and a trio of Atum general riders: Alejandro Manuel Marque, Delio Fernández and Rafael Lourenço. 

Cardoso would soon drop back to join the five as the leaders stretched their lead to 1:25 on the false flat area with 7km to go. However Moreira, Fernandes and Figueiredo powered on to the summit finish to shake up the overall classification. 

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