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Live coverage

Vuelta a España 2013: Stage 3


Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana, a 172.5km jump from Vigo to Mirador de Lobeira.

To bring you right up to speed with events,  we have a group of six riders up the road and just over 120km of racing to go. We'll bring you the names in the break as soon as we can.

The six leaders, Luca Dodi (Lampre Merida), Vicente Reynes (Lotto), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), Cyril Bessy (Cofidis), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel) have 4'55 over the peloton with 122km to go.

Can a stage with a summit finish be described as flat? The route of this stage suggests it can. Although the riders face a vicious climb at the finish, the final ascent is short and there's barely a bump of note before they reach it. The Lobeira 'lookout' provides a stunning 360-degree view of the coastline and region around Vilagarcía de Arousa – not that the riders will be interested in that. The final climb isn't as tough as last year's ascent of the Mirador de Ezaro, where Joaquim Rodríguez gained valuable seconds on his rivals. Yet its average grade of 10 per cent over more than 2km will line out the peloton significantly. The gaps between the GC contenders will be a matter of seconds.

1998 Vuelta winner Abraham Olano:

In terms of the overall picture, Vincenzo Nibali finds himself in the early driving seat. The Italian rider used his Astana team to good effect on stage 1 and stayed near the front during yesterday's tricky stage:

Of course Roche was the victor on stage 2, the Irishman showing that he does indeed have a clinical side. You can read yesterday's race report right here.

The big loser from yesterday's stage was Samuel Sanchez who cracked on the final climb to the finish. The Spaniard lost nearly ten minutes and his overall ambitions are over. The best he can hope for is a recovery and then a challenge for stage win.

112km remaining from 184km

The five leaders are holding their five minute advantage over the peloton, while the terrain has a few bumps in it, it's flat for the most part.

Samuel Sanchez wasn't the only rider with GC ambitions to struggle yesterday. Team Sky's Sergio Henao also lost time. Find out why, by clicking here.

In non-Vuelta related news: Van Garderen sealed the overall at the USA Pro Challenge to take the second US stage race of his year, and career, in fact, while Peter Sagan bagged the final stage.

And we still have this gallery of images from the Vuelta archives.

Henao, who we mentioned a few minutes ago, has suffered a puncture but he's coming back to the peloton now. The gap to the five leaders is now at 4'40, so the work from BMC and Omega seems to be doing the trick.

Just under 100 km to go and the gap is down to 4;25.

The leaders pass through the first intermediate sprint of the day with Ferrari taking first, Reynes second and Bessy  third.

The break had a tailwind earlier in the stage but right now the peloton are hot on their heels, with the gap down to 3'30. There's still over 90km to race so  the bunch might allow the five leaders to extend the gap once more.

Astana's plan today? Probably just to take care of Nibali and then the Italian will look to follow rather than set the pace. He has the lead in GC and he's already stated that he'd prefer not to have that responsibility so early on.

Astana's plan today? Probably just to take care of Nibali and then the Italian will look to follow rather than set the pace. He has the lead in GC and he's already stated that he'd prefer not to have that responsibility so early on.

And the peloton now have the leaders pegged at 2'10.

75km remaining from 184km

The lead moves back up to around 2:30 as Gilbert drifts around the back of the main field. Omega and Astana are setting the pace at the moment on the front.

The bunch are already starting to string out with Nibali safely tucked in at the end of the Astana train.

Omega are on the front in the hope of setting up Gianni Meersman for the stage. Valverde, Rodriguez, Gilbert, and Gerrans are all here though.

69km remaining from 184km

Confirmation finally out that Belkin will ride on Bianchi's for 2014. You can read the story, here.

With the gap at one minute the bunch look like they're going to ease up and allow the group to extend their advantage.

A number of the bunch take the slowing in pace as a chance for a final comfort break.

The peloton ease up and there's a crash. Henao is there, Puccio too.

Two Caja Rural riders are involved too

The peloton eased up, they took a gentle left hand bend and a lack of concentration at the back seems to have been the cause.

All the riders involved are back up and chasing back to the peloton.  The gap to the five leaders is now back up to 2:18.

Henao has a brief chat with the Sky mechanic. He has two teammates with him as he rejoins the main field with 59km to go.

The pace has increased  once again in the bunch with Omega moving back to the front. The gap to the leaders is at 2;15.

Heading towards the northern coastline and Omega still with one rider on the front. Astana have sat back a little and Lotto, RadioShack and Lampre have moved up. They're about to turn left and the wind direction will change.

46km remaining from 184km

The five leaders, Luca Dodi (Lampre Merida), Vicente Reynes (Lotto), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), Cyril Bessy (Cofidis), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel) hit the coastal roads. They'll know they have little to no chance of surviving but they'll continue to work together.

Crash. A huge pile up now in the field, on another left hand bend.

Gerrans is involved

There are a number of riders picking themselves up off the tarmac. It was a 90 degree bend and there was a touching of wheels on the left hand side.

Edet is standing on the side of the road and awaiting a new bike as Katusha push on at the front of the peloton.

It's almost all over for the break, and with 40km to go the gap is down to 38 seconds.

The crash has split the peloton and the cross winds are going to make things even worse. Mollema is currently off the back of the main field.

With the Belkin rider off the back Katusha will continue to the set a furious pace. Will Movistar join in after what happened to Valverde at the Tour de France?

And there you go Movistar hit the front with RadioShack with them.

RadioShack will be looking to keep Horner out of trouble.

The break have been caught and these tight corners are going to be very tricky for the peloton take at such high speeds.

It looks like the bunch have knocked the pace off just slightly and that might be because a rider has crashed just as the break was caught.

Cancellara is on the front a la Spa 2010 as he calls for some calm, or so it seems. This will really help Belkin as they try and get Mollema back to the bunch. At the moment Mollema is at 35 seconds.

It looks as though the easing in pace has allowed Mollema to come back. The Dutchman still needs to regroup and get himself to the front of the peloton. Easier said than done as now Astana light up the front with an injection of pace.

There's still a group trying to make contact with the peloton and they're at 33 seconds.

A clutch of Ag2R riders are leading the chase group so it looks like Pozzovivo is still of the back.

Over bridge along the coast line and it gives a dramatic scene of how fragmented and strung out the field is.

Nieve is also off the back,

The wind is causing havoc and Euskaltel's final grand tour is going from bad to worse out there.

Nieve group is at 40 seconds now and Movistar continue to turn the screw on the front of the peloton.

Movistar are joined by Astana, and Cannondale and Roche is also near the front with his Saxo Bank teammates.

26km remaining from 184km

It looks like Nieve is trying to bridge on his own.

Lampre move up with Scarponi, Cannondale have Basso well placed too but it's still Movistar who set the majority of the pace.

And a motor bike almost takes out Luis Leon Sanchez.

One chase group is coming back to the peloton.

Basso signals for his team to set the pace, the first time they've showed themselves in the race .

The pace finally eases and the peloton are drifting back together.

Trouble for Paolini who loses his saddle.

17km remaining from 184km

Basso still wants his men on the front. It will be another testing day for the veteran Italian. He was strong yesterday but he doesnt have the punch of some of the pure climbers so he may need to limit his loses today.

Mollema is on the side of the road with problems with his bike. He's now back in with the cars but this is using up a huge amount of energy.

Mollema is 22 seconds of the back and he's got one teammate with him.

Now he has four men with him but there's still a lot of work to do.

And Mollema makes contact with 12.5km to go.

Arroyo is back with the medical car. He's been there several times in the last few kms.

Movistar, Astana and Cannondale fighting for position into the foot of the last climb.

10km remaining from 184km

Paolini has a new saddle. In case you were worried about him. 

But the real action is at the front.The road is flat and wide as they head for the final climb to the finish. The road will  narrow soon enough.

The road is gradually climbing already but the climb hasn't begun. There is a quick descent before the final surge uphill.

The last climb, with a pitch of around 8 per cent for 1km, levels off in the final 150 meters.

GreenEdge move and set the pace, perhaps for Gerrans.

Just 5km to go. Roche is well positioned near the front. Nibali too.

And now Katusha sprint to the front of the bunch with 4.6km to go.

It's going to be full on into the foot of the final climb. Who will strike out first? The road will kick up with around 2.5km to go.

Orica are back to the front but Saxo Bank and Lampre are close too.

Roche is in 5th wheel.

Nibali is right near the front too.

Nibali is right near the front too.

Gilbert looks too far down to challenge at the moment.

And Flecha attacks.

The bunch give him a gap.

And there's an attack from BMC.

Gilbert is near the front now.

Cofidis, Lampre both fire off riders.

Flecha has been passed by Ivan Santaromita

2km to go

Ivan Santaromita is pushing on though and he has 1.8km to go .

He has 7 seconds

Gilbert is waiting in the bunch.

And more attacks are firing out from the peloton.

Herrada is setting the pace at he moment.

Ivan Santaromita is still clear though with 1.1km to and a seven second lead

Is that Horner who attacks?

A RadioShack rider goes clear

And now Horner is in the lead. He's heading for the win.

Out of the saddle the American is closing in on the win.

Just a few hundred meters to go.

300 to go and he's getting closer.

The road will flatten out now.

And Chris Horner takes the Vuelta stage win.

It looks like Valverde takes second on the line.

A thrilling end to the stage. No real fireworks from the main GC guys but Horner timed his attack to perfection. He should now be in the race lead too.

Rodriguez was third on the stage and Daniel Martin fifth.

1 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
5 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp

Some confusion on top ten. Some are saying Valverde is leading and that Nibali is out of the top ten.  Hold on as we look for some clarity.

1 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 9:37:40
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:08
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:14
4 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:16
5 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:23
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:24
7 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:25
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:38
9 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:45
10 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura


Thanks for joining us today. We have our report,  images and results all right here.

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