Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) won stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya up to the ski resort of Vallter 2000, gaining enough time on his overall rivals to take the leader’s jersey from João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) after an attack 1.8km from the line.
It was the Briton's second victory at the summit finish, having also triumphed on the way to second overall at the previous edition of the race in 2019.
Esteban Chavez (Bike Exchange) made a late surge to finish 13 seconds back, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) hanging on from the decisive attack to take third at 19 seconds after a series of attacks and chases shook up the leader group on the 11km climb high in the Pyrenees.
Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) attacked with Yates and Valverde on the second half of climb but blew up in the final two kilometres and finished sixth at 33 seconds.
Almeida, who had raced steadily up the climb, lost even more time and Yates picked-up a ten-second time bonus, so the Portugeuse rider slipped to third overall, 50 seconds down on Yates and five seconds behind Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers). Geraint Thomas was also strong, finishing fourth on the stage and moving up to fourth overall at 53 seconds.
Ineos appear in control of the race and will now work to defend Yates’ lead during Thursday’s fourth stage in the high mountains and another Hors Catégorie summit finish at Porte Ainé.
“I don't know time gaps yet. Tonight we'll sit down and have a look and see what it is but first we'll celebrate today,” Yates said, content to take his first win for Ineos after leaving his brother’s side at Bike Exchange and joining the British team.
“It was perfect in the end. We had cards to play like we knew in the beginning, and we played them well with Richie (Carapaz) going with the early move and then I came across and just kept going. In the end I had enough momentum and speed to go straight past. I still had Kuss and Alejandro with me but I managed to drop them. It's my first victory for the team and I'm really happy.”
How it unfolded
The 203.5km stage started near Barcelona and near sea level at the Canal Olímpic de Catalunya, constructed for the sprint canoe events at the 1992 Olympics.
The flat roads inland towards the Pyrenees and Vallter 2000 were perfect for a breakaway and the early move soon formed.
Francisco Galván (Kern Pharma), Alexander Kamp (Trek-Segafredo), Sean Bennett (Qhubeka-Assos), Clément Venturini (AG2R Citroën), Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Qhubeka Assos), Colin Joyce (Rally), Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) and Alex Evans (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) were in the move. The peloton let them go, perhaps without fully understanding the climbing strengths of some of them.
After 50km the gap was up to a significant 8:20 and so Galván became the virtual race leader. Deceuninck-QuickStep lead the chase in defence of Almeida’s race lead, with Jumbo-Visma also helping them with Steven Kruijswijk starting the stage fourth overall at just five seconds.
However, the peloton opted to play a waiting game and the break lead by a whopping 11:15 with 125km to go. Galván led Camp and Evans through the intermediate sprint at San Fruitos de Bages, where the break’s lead stood at 12:25, taking three bonus seconds.
Kamp took three seconds at the second intermediate sprint in Perafita after 125km. Van Rensburg and Champion took the two and one-second timer bonuses as the riders took turns on the front and worked together to stay away.
The Pyrenees loomed large on the horizon as the race criss-crossed the Ter river at San Joan de les Abadesses as the race headed deep into the valley. However the gap stayed close to 5:00 with 35km to go, tipping the stage towards the breakaway.
Deceuninck-QuickStep took up the chase, with Ineos Grenadiers tucked in behind them as the speed rose and the gap came down.
Joyce was the first to be distanced from the break, then Van Rensburg eased up too. However the break lead by 2:30 going through Setcases with 11km to go.
Venturini was next to be spat out, followed by Galván, as Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) eased up after doing a late turn on the front for teammates Lennard Kämna and Wilco Kelderman. The break soon fell apart, with the gap down to 1:30 and their chances suddenly looking slim.
Marc Soler (Movistar) surprisingly also dropped back from the peloton, with 10km to race and while there were still over a hundred riders in the peloton. Chris Froome (Israel Start-up Nation) soon joined him off the back.
Alejandro Valverde decided to try to restore Movistar pride by going on the attack and sparked a first of what would be a number of surges and counter moves during an highly entertaining finale.
With 8km to go Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) upped the pace and Valverde surged again with Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) chasing him. Then Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) attacked, dancing on the pedals as Richard Carapaz went with him.
Yates waited for the early attacks to cancel each other and for the hardest part of the climb with around five kilometres to race before speeding away out of the saddle. Only Kuss could go with him and they swept up Valverde, blowing past the others ahead.
Behind, Almeida was alone, with Thomas and others on his wheel, and so could only try to ride at threshold and limit his losses.
Arensman was last to be caught from the break at 3.5km to go and so Valverde began to hope for the stage victory with his fast finish. However, Yates responded to an attack from Kuss and then went himself with 1.8km to go, cracking the American, who blew up, and distancing Valverde.
The British climber was never seen again and had time to celebrate his first win for Ineos Grenadiers as the rest of the riders fought to survive and limit their losses.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers||5:00:58|
|2||Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange||0:00:13|
|3||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:19|
|4||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers||0:00:31|
|5||Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|6||Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma|
|7||Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo|
|8||Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation||0:00:36|
|9||Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers|
|10||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo|
|11||Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|12||Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange|
|13||Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|14||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|15||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:46|
|16||João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|17||Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||0:01:03|
|18||Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:01:09|
|19||Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|20||Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates||0:01:21|
|21||Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma||0:01:29|
|22||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers|
|23||Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|24||Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|25||Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain Victorious||0:02:07|
|26||Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education-Nippo|
|27||Stephen Williams (GBr) Bahrain Victorious||0:02:35|
|28||Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:02:39|
|29||Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team DSM||0:02:42|
|30||Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM||0:02:48|
|31||Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team||0:02:56|
|32||Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo|
|33||Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech|
|34||Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo||0:03:06|
|35||Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma|
|36||Jai Hindley (Aus) Team DSM|
|37||David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates||0:03:10|
|38||Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma|
|39||Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis||0:03:36|
|40||Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo||0:04:00|
|41||Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:04:02|
|42||Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma||0:04:12|
|43||Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:04:18|
|44||Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||0:04:23|
|45||Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation||0:04:45|
|46||Joe Dombrowski (USA) UAE Team Emirates||0:04:55|
|47||Ben Zwiehoff (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:05:15|
|48||Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo||0:05:19|
|49||Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ||0:05:34|
|50||Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling||0:05:43|
|51||Chris Froome (GBr) Israel Start-up Nation|
|52||Jeremy Bellicaud (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:06:04|
|53||Sylvain Moniquet (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|54||Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:06:06|
|55||Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis|
|56||Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain Victorious||0:06:18|
|57||Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:06:31|
|58||Daniel Alejandro Mendez Noreña (Col) Equipo Kern Pharma||0:07:05|
|59||Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team||0:07:18|
|60||Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||0:07:32|
|61||Alexander Evans (Aus) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:07:33|
|62||Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:07:59|
|63||Andres Camilo Ardila Ordoñez (Col) UAE Team Emirates||0:08:03|
|64||Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis||0:08:27|
|65||Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo||0:08:32|
|66||Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team||0:09:11|
|67||François Bidard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team|
|68||Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team||0:09:25|
|69||Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech|
|70||Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo|
|71||Savva Novikov (Rus) Equipo Kern Pharma||0:09:43|
|72||Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers||0:10:11|
|73||Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers|
|74||Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis|
|75||Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana-Premier Tech|
|76||Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|77||Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel Start-up Nation|
|78||Tanel Kangert (Est) Team BikeExchange|
|79||James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|80||Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën Team|
|81||Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Team Qhubeka Assos|
|82||Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R Citroën Team|
|83||Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo|
|84||Sergei Chernetskii (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo|
|85||Urko Berrade Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma|
|86||Nathan Brown (USA) Rally Cycling|
|87||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo||0:10:54|
|88||George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma||0:11:13|
|89||Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM||0:11:15|
|90||Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma||0:11:43|
|91||Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|92||Jonas Wilsly (Den) Astana-Premier Tech||0:11:51|
|93||Diego Camargo Pineda (Col) EF Education-Nippo|
|94||Stefan De Bod (RSA) Astana-Premier Tech||0:12:27|
|95||Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis||0:12:43|
|96||Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo|
|97||Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis|
|98||Bob Jungels (Lux) AG2R Citroën Team|
|99||Natnael Berhane (Eri) Cofidis|
|100||Sean Bennett (USA) Team Qhubeka Assos|
|101||Denis Nekrasov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo|
|102||Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education-Nippo|
|103||Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates|
|104||Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|105||Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo|
|106||Sander Armée (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos|
|107||Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech|
|108||Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation|
|109||Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo||0:12:49|
|110||Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal||0:13:35|
|111||Brent Bookwalter (USA) Team BikeExchange|
|112||Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ||0:13:49|
|113||Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal||0:14:22|
|114||Mattias Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo|
|115||Harold Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana-Premier Tech|
|116||Francisco Galvan Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma||0:14:27|
|117||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Gazprom-RusVelo||0:15:27|
|118||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|119||Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|120||Laurent Pichon (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|121||Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-up Nation|
|122||Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling|
|123||Nickolas Zukowsky (Can) Rally Cycling|
|124||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team|
|125||Joey Rosskopf (USA) Rally Cycling|
|126||Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team|
|127||Gotzon Martin Sanz (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|128||Chad Haga (USA) Team DSM|
|129||Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|130||Marti Marquez Roman (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma|
|131||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|132||Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team|
|133||Callum Scotson (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|134||Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates|
|135||Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-up Nation|
|136||Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|137||Dion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange|
|138||Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|139||Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Qhubeka Assos||0:16:34|
|140||Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:16:49|
|141||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious||0:16:53|
|142||Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|143||Connor Brown (NZl) Team Qhubeka Assos|
|144||Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious||0:17:38|
|145||Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo|
|146||Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling|
|147||Alan Riou (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||0:17:53|
|148||Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|149||Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM|
|150||Rob Power (Aus) Team Qhubeka Assos||0:19:18|
|151||Matis Louvel (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||0:19:50|
|152||Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers||0:19:59|
|153||Ben King (USA) Rally Cycling|
|154||Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain Victorious||0:20:09|
|155||Joan Bou Company (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:20:11|
|156||Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:20:28|
|157||William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:20:41|
|158||Karel Vacek (Cze) Team Qhubeka Assos||0:21:17|
|159||Frederik Wandahl (Den) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:21:26|
|160||Josef Cerny (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|161||Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi|
|162||Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|996||Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Francisco Galvan Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma||3|
|2||Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo||2|
|3||Alexander Evans (Aus) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||1|