Vuelta a Espana: Nibali wins stage 3 in Andorra

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) won stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana into Andorra la Vella, jumping clear of a group of favourites inside the final kilometre. David de la Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) chased down Nibali but had to settle for second with Chris Froome (Team Sky) in third.

As the race really took flight on the final climb, Nibali looked in trouble on more than one occasion. The Bahrain-Merida rider lost touch almost as soon as the riders hit the foot of the ascent when Team Sky put the hammer down. He recovered enough to fight back to the group, but when Froome lit things up again, taking Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) with him, with eight kilometres to go it looked like Nibali's chances were over as he slipped back once again. He had to rely on his descending skills to close the gap to Froome and Chaves, eventually catching them and others inside the final kilometre.

Nicolas Roche was the first rider to make a charge for the line, but Nibali had no trouble catching and passing him with 400 metres to go. Nibali glanced over his shoulder as he approached the finish, but there was nothing to worry about as he stormed to the win. It will be a big boost for Nibali, but his performance on the climbs will be of some concern to the Italian.

Froome and Team Sky set their stall out in the finale of the stage, showing that Froome was going to take an aggressive approach to the race. Knowing from the Tour de France how close things could be, Diego Rosa set up Froome for the intermediate sprint. He took two seconds for his efforts which, along with the three seconds he took for third place, put him into the overall race lead. He holds a two-second advantage over De la Cruz, and BMC pairing Roche and Tejay van Garderen.

The biggest loser of the day was Alberto Contador, who lost contact after the initial surge from Team Sky and never regained contact with the favourites. By the time he reached the line he had given away 2:33 to his main rivals, his overall ambitions over.

How it unfolded

Starting the Vuelta a Espana in Nimes was always going to mean an early trip to the Pyrenees for the peloton. Stage 3 would pit the riders against their first major mountain test with a tough ride into Andorra La Vella. Following a lengthy neutral section, the break was quick to form with Caja Rural's Fabricio Ferrari igniting the move. Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), David Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) followed him across the gap, and were later joined by Axel Domont, Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) and Fernando Orjuela (Manzana Postobon) after a short chase.

After less than 10 kilometres of racing, the gap had ballooned to 3:44, an advantage that would grow beyond five minutes at its maximum. It was then that UAE Team Emirates' Przemyslaw Niemiec decided to set off in chase and his doggedness payed off when he made contact after 10 kilometres of chasing.

The Polish rider was of no worry to Quick-Step Floors as they looked after the new race leader Yves Lampaert. The Belgian held a slim lead in the overall classification after winning stage 2.

Team Sky took over the pace setting on the Coll de la Rabassa as the race entered into Andorra. The speed quickly had Lampaert in trouble and his time in the red jersey seemed all but over as he dangled off the back. Their efforts also saw the advantage of the leaders brought down to just over two minutes as they began to shed the weaker riders off the back. With 40 kilometres remaining only Villella, Geniez and Ferrari remained from the original breakaway.

Meanwhile, Movistar, unshackled by the responsibility of a general classification leader, sent Antonio Pedrero up the road in chase of the ever diminishing lead group. He would join Ferrari, who was the next from the break to be dropped, before UAE Team Emirates' Rui Costa and Darwin Atapuma made contact. Their assistance was still not enough to hold off the brutal pace set by Team Sky in the group behind. Ferrari was the first of the group to get brought back, but Costa, Atapuma and Pedrero were eventually reabsorbed as they crested the top of the Rabassa with 30 kilometres to go.

Villella and Geniez still held a small advantage of 13 seconds at the top, but that would disappear very quickly with a much reduced bunch making the juncture halfway down the descent. While most of the peloton had slipped back on the Rabassa, all of the main contenders survived for the battle on the final ascent of the Alto de la Comella.

On the run into the climb, the riders passed through the one intermediate sprint of the day. It looked like that it would pass without incident until Team Sky struck out in the final metres, allowing Froome to take some the bonus seconds available. Team Sky then ramped up the pace as they hit the Comella proper, instantly putting many of the main contenders into trouble. Esteban Chaves and Fabio Aru were two of the few who could match the Sky train, but Contador could not. The Spanish rider, in his final race, was immediately distanced.

Froome took up the challenge himself as his final helper dropped off the front with just under eight to go. This time it was just Chaves who had the legs to keep contact with the Team Sky rider while Aru and Bardet helped lead the chase behind. Nibali was once again in trouble near the top of the climb, slipping back from the stronger pair.

Taking plenty of risks on the descent of the Comella, Aru and Bardet joined up with Froome and Chaves. With one kilometre to go, the rest of the chasers, including Nibali and Roche, were back in contention. Roche made the first real attempt to wind up the sprint, but it was Nibali who had his timing right to take the stage win.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida4:01:22
2David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step FloorsRow 1 - Cell 2
3Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 2 - Cell 2
4Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 3 - Cell 2
5Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-ScottRow 4 - Cell 2
6Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 8 - Cell 2
10Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:25
11Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 10 - Cell 2
12Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team SkyRow 11 - Cell 2
13Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott0:00:29
14Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:54
15Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team EmiratesRow 14 - Cell 2
16Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 15 - Cell 2
17Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension DataRow 16 - Cell 2
18Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb0:01:14
19Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 18 - Cell 2
20Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Movistar TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team SunwebRow 21 - Cell 2
23Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 22 - Cell 2
24Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 23 - Cell 2
25Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:24
27Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team0:01:28
28Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott0:01:39
29Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 28 - Cell 2
30Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 29 - Cell 2
31Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension DataRow 30 - Cell 2
32Wout Poels (Ned) Team SkyRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jaime Roson Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 32 - Cell 2
34Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates0:02:21
35Hernán Aguirre (Col) Manzana Postobon0:02:33
36Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 35 - Cell 2
37Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 36 - Cell 2
38Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:02:35
39Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:02:43
40Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:36
41Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana Postobon0:04:01
42Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky0:05:07
43Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team SkyRow 42 - Cell 2
44Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:05:43
45Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:07:16
46Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Luis Angel Maté Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 46 - Cell 2
48Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 47 - Cell 2
49Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 48 - Cell 2
50Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 49 - Cell 2
51Fabricio Ferrari (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 50 - Cell 2
52Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) Dimension DataRow 52 - Cell 2
54Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue SportRow 53 - Cell 2
55Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step FloorsRow 54 - Cell 2
56Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:07:25
58Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:09:12
59Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:09:16
60Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step FloorsRow 59 - Cell 2
61Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:10:21
62Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 63 - Cell 2
65Bernardo Suaza (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 64 - Cell 2
66Ricardo Vilela (Por) Manzana PostobonRow 65 - Cell 2
67Lluís Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:12:14
68José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-AlpecinRow 67 - Cell 2
69Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJRow 68 - Cell 2
70Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJRow 69 - Cell 2
71Aldemar Reyes (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 70 - Cell 2
72Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 71 - Cell 2
73Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 72 - Cell 2
74Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 73 - Cell 2
75Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 74 - Cell 2
76Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-SegafredoRow 75 - Cell 2
77Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 76 - Cell 2
78Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team0:12:42
79Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team0:14:08
80Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 80 - Cell 2
82Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 81 - Cell 2
83Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team EmiratesRow 82 - Cell 2
84Juan Felipe Osorio (Col) Manzana Postobon0:14:48
85Matej Mohoric (Slo) UAE Team EmiratesRow 84 - Cell 2
86Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Daan Olivier (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 86 - Cell 2
88Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 87 - Cell 2
89Fernando Orjuela (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 88 - Cell 2
90Stefan Denifl (Aut) Aqua Blue SportRow 89 - Cell 2
91Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 90 - Cell 2
92Clement Chevrier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 91 - Cell 2
93Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Orica-ScottRow 92 - Cell 2
94Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 93 - Cell 2
95Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 94 - Cell 2
96Jeremy Maison (Fra) FDJRow 95 - Cell 2
97Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJRow 96 - Cell 2
98Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha-AlpecinRow 99 - Cell 2
101Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La MondialeRow 100 - Cell 2
102Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 101 - Cell 2
103Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 102 - Cell 2
104Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension DataRow 103 - Cell 2
105Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 104 - Cell 2
106David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 105 - Cell 2
107Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 106 - Cell 2
108William Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 107 - Cell 2
109Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 108 - Cell 2
110Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 109 - Cell 2
111Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 110 - Cell 2
112Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 111 - Cell 2
113George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 112 - Cell 2
114Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 113 - Cell 2
115Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 114 - Cell 2
116Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:15:10
117Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:15:20
118Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
119Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-AlpecinRow 119 - Cell 2
121Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 120 - Cell 2
122Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:15:27
123Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:15:31
124Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:15:35
125Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 124 - Cell 2
126Omar Fraile Matarranza (Spa) Dimension DataRow 125 - Cell 2
127Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 126 - Cell 2
128Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors0:15:38
129Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:16:26
130Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:16:39
131Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:16:42
132Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:16:45
133Rein Taaramäe (Est) Katusha-AlpecinRow 132 - Cell 2
134Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale-Drapac0:16:51
135Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ0:17:27
136Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 135 - Cell 2
137Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-AlpecinRow 136 - Cell 2
138Nicholas Dougall (RSA) Dimension DataRow 137 - Cell 2
139Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJRow 139 - Cell 2
141Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 140 - Cell 2
142Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:17:44
143Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb0:18:49
144David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team SkyRow 143 - Cell 2
145Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 144 - Cell 2
146Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:19:05
147Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:19:15
148Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team SunwebRow 147 - Cell 2
149Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:20:00
150Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 149 - Cell 2
151Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:20:51
152Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale0:23:20
153Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-DrapacRow 152 - Cell 2
154Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue SportRow 153 - Cell 2
155Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team SunwebRow 154 - Cell 2
156Michael Mørkøv (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 155 - Cell 2
157Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJRow 156 - Cell 2
158Rafael Reis (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 157 - Cell 2
159Juan José Lobato (Spa) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 158 - Cell 2
160Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 159 - Cell 2
161Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 160 - Cell 2
162Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 161 - Cell 2
163Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 162 - Cell 2
164Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 163 - Cell 2
165Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 164 - Cell 2
166Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-ScottRow 165 - Cell 2
167Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 166 - Cell 2
168Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 167 - Cell 2
169Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team SunwebRow 168 - Cell 2
170Magnus Cort (Den) Orica-ScottRow 169 - Cell 2
171Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 170 - Cell 2
172Hector Sáez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 171 - Cell 2
173Federico Zurlo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 172 - Cell 2
174Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 173 - Cell 2
175Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 174 - Cell 2
176Thomas Scully (NZl) Cannondale-DrapacRow 175 - Cell 2
177Youcef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension DataRow 176 - Cell 2
178Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue SportRow 177 - Cell 2
179Sebastián Molano (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 178 - Cell 2
180Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 179 - Cell 2
181Ian Stannard (GBr) Team SkyRow 180 - Cell 2
182Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step FloorsRow 181 - Cell 2
183Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue SportRow 182 - Cell 2
184Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue SportRow 183 - Cell 2
185Hernando Bohórquez (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 184 - Cell 2
186Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 185 - Cell 2
187John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-SegafredoRow 186 - Cell 2
188Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 187 - Cell 2
189Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 188 - Cell 2
190Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-ScottRow 189 - Cell 2
191Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue SportRow 190 - Cell 2
192Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 191 - Cell 2
193Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ0:38:28
DNSBen King (USA) Dimension DataRow 193 - Cell 2
DNFMarc Fournier (Fra) FDJRow 194 - Cell 2
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Points Classification - Andorra la Vella
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky4pts
2Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Points Classification - Finish line
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida25pts
2David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale14Row 3 - Cell 3
5Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott12Row 4 - Cell 3
6