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Vuelta a Espana 2017: Stage 3

In its modern incarnation, the Vuelta a Espana has never shied away from including some stiff climbs in the opening days of racing, but even by those lofty standards, today's stage is rather novel, as the race hits the Pyrenees on its way from France back towards Spanish soil.  There are three climbs on today's route, the category 1 Col de la Perche kicks off proceedings, before a demanding finale in Andorra with the double whammy of the category 1 Coll de la Rabassa and the category 2 Alto de la Comella, before the short drop to the line in Andorra la Vella.

Joaquim Rodriguez knows a thing or two about racing in this corner of the world. The Catalan is a long-term Andorra resident and even designed the stage when the Vuelta last came to these parts in 2015. Alasdair Fotheringham caught up with Rodriguez to run the rule over today's 158-kilometre stage. The steep upper section of the Cornella, he says, could prove decisive."The last 800 metres before the summit are very hard and somebody who knows exactly where to attack could do some real damage, particularly if they go on giving it some gas on the descent on the first few bends," Rodriguez said. Read the full story here.

 

The Vuelta peloton is currently negotiating the neutralised section in Prades and is due to hit kilometre zero at 13.16 local time. Officially, the Col de la Perche (19.5km at 4.8%) begins after 12 kilometres, but in truth, the road climbs from the very outset here.

 

Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) begins the day in the red jersey after his fine victory on the opening road stage yesterday, but the Belgian will almost certainly hand the tunic over in the mountains this afternoon.

 

 

General classification after stage 2:

 

1 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 4:52:07
2 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:01
3 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
7 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:18
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:21
10 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
11 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:23
12 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb
13 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
14 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
15 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
16 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:25
17 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:26
18 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky
19 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:29
20 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:33

 

There are clear blue skies over the Vuelta peloton as it soft-pedals out of Prades in temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius. 

 

Ben King (Dimension Data) is a non-starter today, the fourth rider to abandon this Vuelta after Michal Kolar (Bora-Hansgrohe), Anass Ai El Abdia (UAE Team Emirates) and Javier Moreno (Bahrain-Merida).

 

158km remaining from 158km

The peloton is through kilometre zero but race director Javier Guillen has yet to drop the red flag to start proceedings officially.

 

157km remaining from 158km

There's an immediate attack from Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). The Uruguayan opens a small gap, while a trio of riders give chase.

 

156km remaining from 158km

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Davide Villella (Cannonda-Drapac) and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) bridge across to Ferrari and the quickly establish a working rapport. 

 

The four leaders have a gap of 23 seconds over the peloton. Axel Domont, Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) and Fernando Orjuela (Manzana Postobon) have formed a chasing group between the bunch and the break.

 

153km remaining from 158km

The peloton has spread across the road and seems content to allow the early escapees their freedom. Domont, Geniez and Orjuela are just 12 seconds down on De Gendt, Villella, Turgis and Ferrari. The bunch, meanwhile, is 2:30 back.

 

152km remaining from 158km

Orjuela, Domont and Geniez are closing in on the four leaders, but still haven't quite managed to bridge the gap.

 

150km remaining from 158km

Seven riders together at the head of the race: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) and Fernando Orjuela (Manzana Postobon) are 3:44 clear of the peloton.

 

Przemyslaw Niemiec (UAE Team Emirates) has set out in lone pursuit of the seven escapees. The Pole is caught in the no man's land between the break and the bunch, and he'll have his work cut out to bridge up to the leaders.

 

146km remaining from 158km

The seven leaders hit the base of the category 1 Col de la Perche (19.5km at 4.8%) with a lead of four minutes over the peloton, where Quick-Step Floors are setting the tempo.

 

144km remaining from 158km

The Col de la Perche is a long climb but the gradients are relatively gentle. The seven leaders are rotating turns on the front as they tackle the lower slopes. 

 

4:30 down the road, Tim Declercq sets the tempo at the head of the peloton for Quick-Step Floors.

 

Davide Villella is the virtual race leader. The Italian began the day in 68th overall, 1:03 down on Lampaert. Villella, incidentally, will leave Cannondale for Astana in 2018.

 

140km remaining from 158km

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) drops off the rear of the peloton with a mechanical issue. The pace in the main peloton is steady on the Col de la Perche and Contador will have no trouble in latching back on.

 

137km remaining from 158km

The Col de le Perche is a long slog. The seven leaders still have 10 kilometres of climbing until the summit. Their lead is 4:16 over the peloton.

 

136km remaining from 158km

Przemyslaw Niemiec (UAE Team Emirates) stuck gamely to his task when plenty of others would have relented, and the Pole has succeeded in bridging up to the leaders. We now have eight riders at the head of the race, 4:25 clear of the peloton.

 

Contador has, as expected, managed to make his way safely back on to the peloton. He moves up ahead of Fabio Aru, who is pedalling smoothly on the Col de la Perche.

 

134km remaining from 158km

Quick-Step's tempo at the head of the peloton has helped to pin the break's lead back to 4 minutes, but without causing undue distress to those riders sitting at the rear of the bunch. Declercq continues to sit on the front for Quick-Step.

 

133km remaining from 158km

Some transfer news to report away from the Vuelta. Alex Dowsett will ride for Katusha-Alpecin in 2018, bringing an end to his five-year association with Movistar. Marcel Kittel may be Katusha's marquee signing, but the squad has picked up some interesting names this summer, with Nathan Haas and Ian Boswell also joining the squad next season.

 

132km remaining from 158km

Quick-Step's pace-setting has reduced the break's lead to 3:40, and there are some riders beginning to betray signs of struggling towards the rear of the peloton.

 

130km remaining from 158km

Today's finale should give us the first indications as to the state of form of the overall contenders, but on the evidence of stage 2, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is well primed for this Vuelta. The Sicilian was the best of the GC men in yesterday's fraught finale. "The important thing is that a very stressful stage has gone well," Nibali said afterwards, though he lost teammate Javi Moreno to a broke jaw. Moreno, of course, was the rider ejected from the Giro d'Italia for his push on Diego Rosa (Sky) on the approach to Mount Etna. You can read the full story here.

 

129km remaining from 158km

Some riders are beginning to lose contact at the rear of the peloton on the final push to the summit. Conor Dunne (Acqua Blue) is among the riders distanced, but the Irishman has company and they should manage to latch back on over the top.

 

127km remaining from 158km

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) leads the break over the summit of the category 1 Col de la Perche and deposits the first instalment of king of the mountains points in his account.

 

The Quick-Step-led peloton crests the summit of the Col de la Perche some 3:50 down on the eight escapees. They will cross the border into Spain on the descent, with 106 kilometres to go. The race then passes into Andorra for the final 50 kilometres.

 

121km remaining from 158km

The descent off the Col de la Perche is a long and gentle one, and the road will continue to drop gradually thereafter. Over the next 60 kilometres, the race will drop around 850 metres in altitude before the road starts to climb again near the Andorran border.

 

115km remaining from 158km

There isn't a whole lot of respite to be had on this long drop off the Perche, as it's a shallow descent with little scope for freewheeling. De Gendt, Ferrari, Villella, Turgis, Domont, Geniez, Niemiec and Orjuela continue to collaborate well at the front, 3:26 up on the bunch.

 

112km remaining from 158km

Niki Terpstra hits the front of the peloton for Quick-Step Floors and stretches things out a little more. Lampaert is likely to lose his red jersey this evening, but Quick-Step have three riders - Julian Alaphilippe, Bob Jungels and David De La Cruz - who could realistically aspire to moving into the lead.

 

108km remaining from 158km

The riders who were dropped from the bunch near the top of the Col de la Perche appear to have made it back on during this long descent-by-installments.

 

102km remaining from 158km

The Vuelta has crossed the Franco-Spanish border, incidentally. The eight escapees remain united, and proceed with a lead of 3:20 over the bunch.

 

It's as yet unclear whether Domont and Geniez are in the break with eyes only for stage victory, or whether they have infiltrated the move with a view to serving as foils for Romain Bardet. Then again, Bardet himself has evinced uncertainty about what he can achieve on this Vuelta. The Frenchman was third at the Tour but has never before raced two Grand Tours in one season.

 

93km remaining from 158km

Still no major frissons in the main peloton as it continues the long, gradual drop that characterises the middle portion of this stage. Quick-Step maintain a hold on the reins at the head of the bunch.

 

90km remaining from 158km

There is no particular urgency in the peloton for the time being, and the gap to the break has yawned out once again to 4:25. Chris Froome and his Sky team are tucked in behind Quick-Step near the front of the bunch.

 

85km remaining from 158km

De Gendt, Domont et al add a few more seconds to their buffer, and their lead stretches out to 4:45.

 

80km remaining from 158km

The escapees hit the feed zone at Martinet with a lead of five minutes over the peloton, where the riders who were struggling on the Col de le Perche will be glad of the - relative - respite here.

 

Although destined for Fortuneo-Oscaro next season, Warren Barguil is on hand at this Vuelta for Sunweb, one of the few experienced heads in a youthful line-up. You can read about his transfer to the Breton team here.

 

72km remaining from 158km

The escapees are a little under 30 kilometres from the day's second ascent, the category 1 Coll de la Rabassa (13.3km at 6.8%). Their lead remains north of 5 minutes on the peloton.

 

More transfer news to report. Tom-Jelte Slagter has put pen to paper and will swap Cannondale-Drapac for Dimension Data in 2018. You can read the full story here.

 

65km remaining from 158km

It has been a relatively low-key traversal of the Pyrenees thus far, but we can surely expect some pyrotechnics on the day's final two climbs. The break's lead, meanwhile, has dropped slightly to 4:23.

 

Nicolas Roche is among the BMC riders within touching distance of the red jersey this afternoon. The Irishman has also been one of the few voices from BMC to speak on Samuel Sanchez's positive test for the growth hormone releasing peptide GHRP-2 ahead of the Vuelta. In a column for the Irish Independent, Roche wrote that he was "disgusted" by Sanchez's positive test. "You can't tell just by talking to somebody whether they dope or not. It's not like the guys who dope talk about it. They don't rock up to the breakfast table and say, 'Hey guys, I did growth hormones," Roche wrote. You can read more here.

 

Floyd Landis raced for BMC's antecedent Phonak in 2005 and 2006. In the days before Sanchez's positive test, he sat down with our own Pat Malach and was cogent in his analysis of the current state of professional cycling's relationship with doping. "No, there's no hope. There isn't any. That's just a fact," Landis said. "We can sit here and be pie in the sky, but they're not changing. If they didn't change when they had the chance, that was the time, because everyone was looking at it and that was the time. And they pointed at us: me, Lance, and these guys and said, 'You're the bad guys.'" You can read the full interview here.

 

59km remaining from 158km

Quick-Step Floors have accelerated at the head of the peloton and strung things out once again. The break's lead has dropped accordingly, and now stands at 3:45.

 

56km remaining from 158km

No team has put its shoulder to the wheel to help Quick-Step in its pace-making thus far, but the Belgian squad has performed well to limit the break's advantage ahead of the stage's denouement in Andorra.

 

54km remaining from 158km

Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale) hasn't waited for the  Coll de la Rabassa. The Frenchman attacks alone at the beginning of the false flat that leads towards the start of the climb proper.

 

Domont isn't waiting for company. He presses on alone and opens a gap of 17 seconds over his fellow escapees. Niemic et al have not reacted just yet. They may prefer to see whether the gradients of Rabassa can haltDomont's progress.

 

50km remaining from 158km

Into the final 50 kilometres and (almost) into Andorra for Domont, who has a lead of 25 seconds over De Gendt, Orjuela, Niemic, Villella, Turgis, Ferrari and Geniez, and 4:33 over the main peloton.

 

48km remaining from 158km

Quick-Step have knocked off the pace at the head of the peloton, which is now spread across the road. No other team seems to want to take up the chase, and their deficit is beginning to mushroom all over again. 4:40 the gap to the lone leader Domont.

 

46km remaining from 158km

Domont's lead over his erstwhile companions has stabilised at 20 seconds and the bunch is a further 4 minutes back. We're just under 2 kilometres from the base of the second climb, the category 1 Coll de la Rabassa (13.3km at 6.8%).

 

43km remaining from 158km

Domont is caught by the rest of the break as the gradient begins to bite at the base of the Rabassa. They have just over three minutes in hand on the peloton.

 

Team Sky have taken over at the head of the peloton in support of Chris Froome, and their injection of pace will cause problems for the men at the back of the field as the gradient stiffens.

 

42km remaining from 158km

Sky's surge is tearing strips off the break's lead, which has dropped quickly to 2:40.

 

42km remaining from 158km

The break has fragmented on the early slopes of this climb. Geniez is on the front, with Villella and Ferrari on his wheel. This trio has opened a decent gap over the others.

 

Yves Lampaert, meanwhile, is among the many riders dropped at the rear of the peloton. As expected, the Dwars door Vlaanderen winner will surrender his red jersey this evening.

 

Movistar's Antonio Pedrero, meanwhile, has escaped the clutches of the Sky-led peloton and established a small lead as he sets out in lone pursuit of the splintered break.

 

41km remaining from 158km

Geniez was a stage winner in the Pyrenees at Peyragudes on the 2013 Vuelta, and he is riding very strongly here. The Frenchman's pace-making has dragged Villella and Ferrari well clear of the rest of the break. They are 2:20 clear of the peloton.

 

Pedrero is sticking gamely to his task off the front of the peloton, and he is picking off the dropped riders from the early break. He has caught and passed Orjuela, but he has a lot of ground still to make up on Geniez et al on the front.

 

40km remaining from 158km

Geniez continues to do all of the pace-making on the front, with the virtual race leader Villella and Uruguay's Ferrari on his rear wheel. They have 2:10 in hand on the bunch.

 

Pedrero has dangled just ahead of the bunch for three kilometres, but the Spaniard is about to be pegged back, together with Axel Domont.

 

Turgis and De Gendt have also been pegged back by Sky, leaving just the three leaders Villella, Geniez and Ferrari, and lone chaser Niemic out in front.

 

39km remaining from 158km

Geniez is unhappy with the pace in the leading group. He climbs from the saddle and puts in a rasping acceleration that only Villella can follow. Ferrari is dropped.

 

Pedrero has rallied once again. The Spaniard was virtually caught by Sky, but put in another sharp acceleration to rip clear once again. He caught and passed Niemic, but still hovers just ahead of the reduced peloton.

 

38km remaining from 158km

Julian Alaphilippe is among the riders jettisoned out the back of the peloton thanks to Sky's forcing. The Frenchman's hopes of a stint in the red jersey end here.

 

37km remaining from 158km

Situation:

 

Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) lead the race, having a dropped Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-RGA Seguros). Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) chases at 1:36 and the Sky-led peloton (minus the red jersey Lampaert) is at 1:54.

 

There are still some 6 kilometres to go on the Rabassa, and plenty of riders are beginning to struggle. There are some 60 or so riders left in the main group, but many - including Rohan Dennis (BMC) - are betraying signs of suffering as Sky continue to wind up the pace.

 

35km remaining from 158km

Salvatore Puccio, not exactly noted as a climber, sets a very brisk tempo on the front of the peloton for Team Sky on the Rabassa, and that has done for 2015 Tour de l'Avenir winner Marc Soler (Movistar) who is dropped off the back. 

 

UAE-Emirates duo Darwin Atapuma and Rui Costa attack together as a tandem from the reduced peloton, opening a small gap. Sky continue to set the tempo, with VIncenzo Nibai's Bahrain-Merida squad lined up behind them.

 

Bob Jungels is dropped under the weight of Sky's forcing. Another potential inheritor of Lampaert's red jersey falls by the wayside...

 

Rohan Dennis (BMC) has also been dropped from the fragmented peloton. The Australian is back with Jungels, forlornly giving chase.

 

32km remaining from 158km

Atapuma and Rui Costa have bridged up to Pedrero and Ferrari. This quartet is the second group on the road, 32 seconds down on Geniez and Villella. The Sky-led bunch, however, is closing in behind them.

 

32km remaining from 158km

Deja vu all over again as the Sky train eats up the road in front of it. They have caught Ferrari and are just a 50 metres or so behind Atapuma, Rui Costa and Pedrero. The gap to Geniez and Villella, meanwhile, has dropped to just 16 seconds.

 

31km remaining from 158km

Geniez and Villella lead over the summit of the Coll de la Rabassa with a lead of 15 seconds over the peloton, which had just caught Atapuma, Rui Costa and Pedrero at the top.

 

27km remaining from 158km

Some 16 kilometres or so of descending will bring the race to the base of the final climb, the category 2 Alto de la Comella (4.3km at 8.6%). The race hits the summit of the Comella with 7.1 kilometres to go, and a rapid drop to the finish in Andorra La Vella completes the stage.

 

Geniez and Villella are swept up by the reduced peloton of fifty or so riders. It all comes down to the final haul up the Comella and that drop to the line.

 

24km remaining from 158km

Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Fabio Aru (Astana), David De La Cruz (Quick-Step), Simon Yates, Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) are among those present in the leading group on this descent off the Rabassa. 

 

23km remaining from 158km

Darwin Atapuma leads the front group on this sinuous descent off the Rabassa. Delegations from Sky and Bahrain-Merida are lined up behind him.

 

19km remaining from 158km

There's a temporary respite on this long, sweeping descent off the Rabassa, where Atapuma, perhaps to his surprise, continues to lead.

 

15km remaining from 158km

Still Atapuma leads, with Rui Costa on his wheel. The UAE-Emirates duo had attempted to forge clear on the way up the Rabassa and have thus found themselves on the front on the way down. Froome has five Sky teammates around him just behind Atapuma and Rui Costa.

 

14km remaining from 158km

Fabio Aru is another man well-placed towards the front on this descent. We're a little over a kilometre from the day's intermediate sprint.

 

12km remaining from 158km

Chris Froome zips up the side of the peloton to pick up some bonus seconds at the sprint. It looks as though the Briton nipped in for first place to take three seconds.

 

11km remaining from 158km

Quick-Step take up the reins again on the run-in to the base of the Alto de la Comella (4.3km at 8.6%).

 

11km remaining from 158km

Sky take over as the climb begins and they set a vicious pace on the front that immediately proves too much for many. Diego Rosa in the first sharp dig before swinging over.

 

10km remaining from 158km

Gianni Moscon puts in a mammoth effort with Froome on his wheel. Aru, Poels, Chaves and Nibali are among those following, but struggling.

 

10km remaining from 158km

All over before it begins? Alberto Contador is dropped by Moscon's forcing. Just ten or riders are able to follow the Italian's relentless rhythm here.

 

9km remaining from 158km

Contador is already 30 seconds down on the front of the race. Aru, Nibali, Bardet, Van Garderen and Adam Yates are all in the first ten positions behind Moscon and Froome.

 

9km remaining from 158km

There are 15 or so riders at the head of the race as Sky continue to set the tempo with Mikel Nieve taking over from Moscon. Esteban Chaves is still in here, as is David De La Cruz. Contador is the grand absentee, and is now 48 seconds back.

 

8km remaining from 158km

Nieve continues to force the pace on the front. Contador's deficit extends to a minute. Barguil has also been dropped, and is 18 seconds down on the leading group, which is down to just 12 riders or so.

 

Froome, Nibali, Aru, Bardet, Domenico Pozzovivo, Michael Woods, Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves are all in here.

 

7km remaining from 158km

Chris Froome launches a rasping acceleration that only Chaves can follow. This duo has opened a gap over the rest of the front group.

 

7km remaining from 158km

Froome's style is as ungainly as ever, but he is opening out the gap over Aru, Nibali, Bardet et al while Chaves struggles to hold his wheel.

 

7km remaining from 158km

Froome leads over the top of the climb with Chaves stuck to his wheel. They have 10 seconds in hand on Aru et al.

 

7km remaining from 158km

The chasing group has fragmented on the steep final part of the climb. Bardet and Aru set out in pursuit of Froome and Chaves, distancing Nibali and Pozzovivo in the process.

 

6km remaining from 158km

Bardet's acceleration split the chasing group. Only Aru could follow that attack, and they have joined forces on the descent. They are almost within touching distance of Froome and Chaves.

 

6km remaining from 158km

Froome and Chaves have a handful of seconds on Aru and Bardet. Nibali et al are chasing further down the road. Contador, meanwhile, hasn't even reached the top of the climb yet, and is some 2:18 down.

 

5km remaining from 158km

Bardet and Aru close to within 30 metres of Froome and Chaves. David De La Cruz is the fifth rider on the road, and he, too, seems to be closing in.

 

Nibali, Pozzovivo, Roche and Van Garderen are the fourth group on the road, and they're battling to limit their losses to Froome.

 

4km remaining from 158km

Froome and Chaves are caught by Bardet and Aru. This quartet has 9 seconds in hand on De La Cruz, and 14 on Nibali, Van Garderen, Roche and Pozzovivo.

 

3km remaining from 158km

Bardet takes over at the head of the leading quartet. De Le Cruz has been joined by Nibali et al, and they are just 12 seconds back.

 

2km remaining from 158km

It could all come back together for the sprint in Andorra Le Vella. The Nibali group is just 7 seconds down on Froome, Bardet, Aru and Chaves.

 

1km remaining from 158km

Chaves leads the front group beneath the flamme rouge. Froome accelerates in a bid to go clear, but Chaves closes him down.

 

Nibali, Roche et al latch onto the four leaders with 700 metres to go.

 

Roche launches a tentative move, but he can't gain any traction...

 

Nibali takes a flyer with 400 metres to go and opens a decent lead...

 

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana, just ahead of an eight-man group featuring Froome, Aru, Bardet, Pozzovivo, De La Cruz, Chaves, Roche and Van Garderen.

 

Adam Yates and Ilnur Zakarin conceded ground in this breathless finale, though they at least limited their losses to less than a minute. Contador and Rafal Majka, meanwhile, look like losing more than two minutes...

 

David De La Cruz took second on the stage, ahead of Chris Froome, who picked up the bonuses to move into the overall lead.

 

Chris Froome (Sky) is the new red jersey, 2 seconds clear of De La Cruz, Roche and van Garderen, and 10 ahead of Nibali, who moves up to 5th overall.

 

Contador, meanwhile, loses just shy of 2:30 and, with it, surely all hope of a valedictory overall win in his final race as a professional.

 

Result:

 

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 4:01:22
2 David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team
8 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:25
 

 

General classification:

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 8:53:44
2 David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:02
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:10
6 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:11
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:38
8 Adam Yates (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:00:39
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:43
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:48
 

 

Nibali seemed to introduce his version of the Mobot by raising a hand to his helmet in the manner of a shark's fin as he crossed the line.  As he waits to mount the podium, he downplays the idea that the men in the front group in the final kilometre will be the riders who fight it out for overall victory on this Vuelta. "We’re only on the third day, there’s still a long way to go, it will be a big fight all the way to the finish," Nibali says.

 

Gianni Moscon (Sky) explains his team's approach to Eurosport: "On the second last climb we tried to make an uncomfortable pace for the other riders and we already dropped a few guys like Alaphilippe and Jungels, then it was the last climb and my goal was to take it really hard from the bottom and I did it. I think it was a really good day for us and at least we tried the legs of everybody. The main goal for today was to get some gap on some main GC riders. We did it on Contador and we were already happy. To have the red jersey is really nice and we will try to defend it."

 

Chris Froome is helped into the red jersey for the first time since the 2011 Vuelta. He wore the jersey for a day on that year's race, after his most sudden and wholly unexpected emergence during the Salamanca time trial. On that occasion, he lost the jersey on the next stage after working for Bradley Wiggins on the climb to Estación de Esquí Manzaneda. 

 

Froome speaks after taking possession of the red jersey: "“It's a great surprise but I think it's the result of a lot of hard work today from my teammates as well. They did a fantastic job on the final climb. Especially a guy like Gianni Moscon – it's his first Grand Tour with Team Sky. He was great today, as were the rest of the guys.”

 

Froome caused a stir by contesting the intermediate sprint, but he explained his rationale after the finish, referring to his second place finish to Juan Jose Cobo in 2011. "I've lost a Vuelta before by 13 seconds so I'm going to fight for every second I can at this point," Froome said. "It's been a long time. It feels amazing to put [the red jersey] back on and to be in this position. It's something I've thought about for a long time and obviously I worked hard to be here after the Tour, so I'm really happy to be in this position."

 

A full report and results are available here, and our man in Andorra Alasdair Fotheringham will have all the reaction from stage 3, including the thoughts of Froome, Nibali and Contador.

 

You can click here for a complete run down of post-stage quotes from the Vuelta a Espana - Froome, Contador and more. 

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