Vuelta a España: Peter Sagan wins stage 3

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) ended his long spell of placings by winning the high-speed sprint into the centre of Málaga at the Vuelta a España.

The Giant-Alpecin team led out the sprint for John Degenkolb after a descent off the coastal highway but Sagan accelerated at the right moment with a violent kick, and with help from a tailwind, held off Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) at the line. The Frenchman finished second, with the German third. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) was fourth, ahead of Maximiliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida).

Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) finished safely in the peloton and so kept the race leader’s red jersey, five seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) is third overall at 15 seconds, with his cousin Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) fourth overall at 24 seconds.

It was Sagan’s first win since the Tour of California in May and his first win in a Grand Tour since the 2013 Tour de France.

“I’m very happy, I’ve got to say thanks to all my teammates because they did a good job. I’ve been trying to win for the team and I’m happy I finally did it. It’s a very nice day,” Sagan said before venting a little frustration on the teams who did not help chase the breakaway during the stage.

“Today only Orica and Tinkoff-Saxo pulled. I think we did a better job and I was very pissed that other teams didn’t pull for the sprint. Bouhanni and John Degenkolb only came in the last three kilometres. As a result we had to win today. I was on Degenkolb’s wheel and he started his sprint early, I think at 250m. He went one way and I went the other. The wind helped and it played into my hands.”

How it happened

The 158km stage included two nasty climbs and a late visit to the hills above Malaga but the stage was always expected to end with a sprint finish in the centre of Málaga, with the sprinters’ teams riding to ensure that was the case throughout the day.

Following the polemics of the team time trial and Vincenzo Nibali’s disqualification after Sunday’s finish, riders were keen to avoid any further issue at the start, with Chris Froome (Team Sky) offering a ‘no comment’ over the Italian’s expulsion. Only Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) was happy to talk, pointing out that Nibali had been wrong to blame him for the crash.

After rolling out of Mijas, the break of the day formed early, with little resistance from the peloton.

Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Omar Fraile (Caja Rural), Walter Pedraza Morales (Colombia), Martin Velits (Etixx-QuickStep), Alexid Gougeard (Ag2r), Ilia Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida) and Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) made it into the move. The peloton let them go and so they opened a three-minute lead on the slopes of the early Alto de Mijas, with Fraile leading the break over the top to take the climber’s points on the category three climb.

The gap stabilised on the long descent on the road back to Malaga, with the Orica-GreenEdge team of race leader Chaves riding tempo on the front.

The pace was steady but proved to be too much for Paolo Tiralongo (Astana). He crashed on Sunday and started the stage with 20 stitches above and below his left eye. He was determined to the start the stage but retired after 40km, accepting it was impossible to continue in the race.

After 76km Fraile was also the first to the summit of the longer Puerto de Leon climb and so took the polka dot jersey as the leader of the mountain’s competition from Walter Pedraza (Colombia), who was in the break but was only third to the summit.

The speed in the peloton picked up during the second half of the stage and the loop back to Malaga along the Mediterranean coast. Fortunately the sea breeze was light and the weather warm and sunny, limiting the dangers for the riders. Of course there were crashes, including one with 44km to go that saw Nacer Bouhanni go down with Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo). Both had crashed on Sunday but both got up again and soon got back to the peloton.

Up front Chavanel won the intermediate sprint and so took three bonus seconds. The sprint inspired attacks in the break, with Tjallingii and Gougeard jumping away in search of further glory, while Fraile and the others faded back to the peloton, with Fraile happy to be in the polka-dot jersey and be awarded the most combative prize of the stage.

Tjallingii and Gougeard worked together and managed to push their lead to 1:40 but the peloton refused to let them go, with Tinkoff-Saxo doing much of the work behind. The Russian team upped the pace on the climb, with Giant-Alpecin also working for Degenkolb. Their efforts managed to crack Ewan, who was unable to stay with the front group.

As a result of their efforts, the break was reeled in like a fish on a line as the climb hurt the legs of Tjallingii and Gougeard. The Frenchman was the first to ease up on the climb, with Tjallingii shaking his head in a sign of pain just after as the riders entered the wide coastal highway that took them back to Malaga. Suddenly the peloton was all together and ready for the sprint.

Team Sky lead down the fast highway descent into Málaga, with a short tunnel and a sweeping bend lining out the riders going into the final two kilometres. Giant-Alpecin has three riders leading out Degenkolb and he launched his sprint at speed, with his head and shoulders bobbing in motion with his pedal stroke. However he was not fast enough to beat Sagan, who held off Bouhanni and finally hit the line first.

Tuesday’s 209km fourth stage is from Estepona to Vejer de la Frontera and could see a second consecutive Sagan win after his long drought. The stage concludes with a short but steep climb four kilometres from the finish and twisting roads to the line. It seems perfect for a second Sagan surge.

Full results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo4:06:46
2Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 1 - Cell 2
3John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 2 - Cell 2
4Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-MeridaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - QhubekaRow 5 - Cell 2
7Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 6 - Cell 2
8Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 7 - Cell 2
9Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM CyclingRow 8 - Cell 2
10Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 9 - Cell 2
11Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 10 - Cell 2
12Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 11 - Cell 2
13Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 12 - Cell 2
14Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 13 - Cell 2
15Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) ColombiaRow 14 - Cell 2
16Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 15 - Cell 2
17Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 16 - Cell 2
18José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 17 - Cell 2
19Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 18 - Cell 2
20Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-MeridaRow 19 - Cell 2
21Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 21 - Cell 2
23Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdgeRow 22 - Cell 2
24Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 23 - Cell 2
25Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team SkyRow 24 - Cell 2
26Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 28 - Cell 2
30Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 29 - Cell 2
31Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 30 - Cell 2
32Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 31 - Cell 2
33Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 32 - Cell 2
34Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 33 - Cell 2
35Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 34 - Cell 2
36Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 35 - Cell 2
37Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 36 - Cell 2
38Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 38 - Cell 2
40Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 39 - Cell 2
41Luis Mas (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 40 - Cell 2
42Romain Sicard (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 41 - Cell 2
43Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team SkyRow 44 - Cell 2
46Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 46 - Cell 2
48Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 47 - Cell 2
49Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 48 - Cell 2
50Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 49 - Cell 2
51Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 50 - Cell 2
52Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 51 - Cell 2
53Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 52 - Cell 2
54Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Carlos Quintero (Col) ColombiaRow 54 - Cell 2
56Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 55 - Cell 2
57Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 56 - Cell 2
58Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 57 - Cell 2
59Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 61 - Cell 2
63Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 62 - Cell 2
64Tony Hurel (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 63 - Cell 2
65Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 64 - Cell 2
66Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 65 - Cell 2
67Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 68 - Cell 2
70Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.frRow 69 - Cell 2
71Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 70 - Cell 2
72Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Rodolfo Torres (Col) ColombiaRow 72 - Cell 2
74Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 73 - Cell 2
75Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.frRow 74 - Cell 2
76Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 75 - Cell 2
77Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 76 - Cell 2
78Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 77 - Cell 2
79Juan Pablo Valencia (Col) ColombiaRow 78 - Cell 2
80Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - QhubekaRow 79 - Cell 2
81Leonardo Duque (Col) ColombiaRow 80 - Cell 2
82Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 81 - Cell 2
83Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ.frRow 82 - Cell 2
84Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 83 - Cell 2
85Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdgeRow 85 - Cell 2
87Larry Warbasse (USA) IAM CyclingRow 86 - Cell 2
88Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 87 - Cell 2
89Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team KatushaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-MeridaRow 90 - Cell 2
92Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 93 - Cell 2
95Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 94 - Cell 2
96Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 96 - Cell 2
98Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 97 - Cell 2
99Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-MeridaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 101 - Cell 2
103Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 102 - Cell 2
104Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 103 - Cell 2
105Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 105 - Cell 2
107David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 106 - Cell 2
108Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 107 - Cell 2
109Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 108 - Cell 2
110Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 109 - Cell 2
111Alex Cano (Col) ColombiaRow 110 - Cell 2
112Thomas Degand (Bel) IAM CyclingRow 111 - Cell 2
113Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 112 - Cell 2
114Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory RacingRow 113 - Cell 2
115Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 114 - Cell 2
116Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM Cycling0:00:27
117Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
118Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 117 - Cell 2
119Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.frRow 118 - Cell 2
120Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 119 - Cell 2
121Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 120 - Cell 2
122Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:30
123Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:46
124Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:00:53
125Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha0:01:14
126Fabio Duarte (Col) ColombiaRow 125 - Cell 2
127Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 126 - Cell 2
128Sergio Paulinho (Por) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 127 - Cell 2
129Brayan Ramirez (Col) ColombiaRow 128 - Cell 2
130Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 129 - Cell 2
131Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 130 - Cell 2
132Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 131 - Cell 2
133Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 132 - Cell 2
134Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 133 - Cell 2
135Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 134 - Cell 2
136David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 135 - Cell 2
137Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 136 - Cell 2
138Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 137 - Cell 2
139Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:01:35
141Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 140 - Cell 2
142Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143Walter Pedraza (Col) ColombiaRow 142 - Cell 2
144Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN - QhubekaRow 143 - Cell 2
145Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 144 - Cell 2
146Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 145 - Cell 2
147Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 146 - Cell 2
148Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - QhubekaRow 147 - Cell 2
149Angel Vicioso (Spa) Team KatushaRow 148 - Cell 2
150Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 149 - Cell 2
151Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 150 - Cell 2
152Jérôme Cousin (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 151 - Cell 2
153Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 152 - Cell 2
154Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 153 - Cell 2
155Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team0:02:12
156Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:13
157Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:02:15
158Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.frRow 157 - Cell 2
159Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling0:02:37
160Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:02:54
161George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 160 - Cell 2