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Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2019: Stage 3


Hello and welcome back for stage 3 of the race, the longest day of the race but quite possibly one of the most important from a GC perspective, with the first uphill mass-start stage of the race.

Distance: 194.3km

Start Location: Quart de Poblet

End Location: Chera


We should have our first GC shake up of the race since the opening TT, while Edvald Boasson Hagen's team are currently on the front and controlling the pace with just over an hour of racing completed already. We've a break up the road and we'll bring you the names of those involved shortly. 


Here's how things stand on GC coming into the race:


1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 4:23:07
2 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:07
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:08
5 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:11
6 Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:12
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:14
8 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:18
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:19
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:20
11 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky


147km remaining from 194km

The break have covered 47km and the gap is at 4'30.


And the riders in the break, are as follows:


Julien Duval (AG2R La Mondiale), Awet Andemeskel (Israel Cycling Academy), Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Cyril Barthe (Euskadi Basque Country), Fernando Barcelo Aragon (Euskadi Basque Country), Vladislav Kulikov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Raul Alarcon (W52-FC Porto), Mauricio Moreira (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Diego Lopez Fuentes (Equipo Euskadi) and Diego Rubio Hernandez (Burgos-BH).



The riders in the break have done well to extend their advantage. They've almost doubled it in the last twenty kilometres as Dimension Data continue to set the pace at the front of the main field. It's a rolling stage throughout but we also have six categorised climbs on the route as well. Two of which come in the finale, before the final uphill push towards the line. 

Boasson Hagen, who won his first time trial in nearly three years - if you're not counting national titles (and I'm not) - has taken all but one of his teammates off the front of the peloton for now. With 50km of the stage covered Direct Energie have moved up towards the front of the peloton, although it's still a Dimension Data rider who leads.

Our man on the ground at the race, Alasdair Fotheringhan, has been to the finish and sent in this:


"The race goes through the finish town twice and goes up the last two climbs twice, the third categories Sot de Chera and Salto de la Mora. The finish is about three kilometres or so after the second ascent of the Salto de la Mora (which doesn't count for the KOM competition the second time round), in the town. The final climb is long, steady and on very narrow roads. It's well-surfaced. There are ramps of about 10 percent but nothing too hard."




"The finishing straight is a gradual rise on a long straightaway in the middle of town, but with the finish on a slight-left hand curve at the end. The weather is sunny, and fairly warm, with virtually no wind, which is a big difference to last year when apparently it was freezing cold and tipped it down."


Tinkov: I respect Brailsford but stories of me sponsoring Team Sky are bullshit |

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 8th Feb 2019 11:41:47

That's right, the big news this morning is that Oleg Tinkov reportedly tried to sponsor Team Sky. He's denied it, calling the story that originally came from AS as 'bullshit' while Team Sky have declined to comment. 


Tinkov has also said that cycling needs more Dave Brailsfords. Imagine that. A Brailsford version of Being John Malkovich... (insert your own joke about marginal gains, here).


Back in the race and the break have crested the top of the Sot de Chera with Preben Van Hecke taking the maximum points on offer. 


Onto the Salto de la Mora and Diego Rubio Hernandez, who was second on the first climb, takes the maximum points ahead of Preben Van Hecke.


The bunch has just gone through the finish for the first time. Dimension Data lead with Edvald Boasson Hagen tucked in behind in fourth place. The climbs flattens out in the last couple of kms and there's even a chunk of fast descent just before the village, where the road kicks back up for the final, gradual ascent through to the finish.


Having seen the finish now, it's clear that this stage is perfect for an in-form Valverde. The Spaniard won here last year and will be keen to kick-start his season with another victory - especially in the rainbow jersey. 


128km remaining from 194km

Dimension Data have put a few more riders on the front but it's about containment at the moment, with the break able to extend their advantage to 7:00. We've covered 66km of the stage. 


In other Team Sky related news, Geraint Thomas believes that he and Chris Froome can share leadership at the Tour de France this year. You can read the full story here. The Welshman looked strong stage 2 yesterday and helped set up Ben Swift for a fine third place finish. Today is another test for the 2018 Tour de France champion. 


In non-Team Sky news, we've an exclusive interview with Richie Porte's Trek bike. You can read the story, and look at the pictures of said bike, right here. What do you think of the bike? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the article. The bike comes with the new SRAM RED eTap AXS groupset.


Here's a photo of the bike. 


And in the latest development, Dr Richard Freeman's tribunal has been put on hold once more. It will start up again next week. Team Sky have had terrible luck hiring doctors when it comes to controversy. First it was Leinders, and now Freeman is under investigation. There plenty of doctors out there to choose from guys... 


Eh... there's radio DJ, Dr Fox, Dr Dre, Dr Doogie Howser, Dr Pepper, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, and of course Dr Who.


And now Susan Westemeyer is taking over live for a while.... The gap to the break is still around seven minutes.


 At the most recent mountain ranking, the points went, in order, to Van Baarle, Barcelo and Moreira.

And right away we have another mountain climbed. The results were different this time on the cat. 3 Alto de Requena: Rubio, ahead of Van Hecke and Moreira.

Of course the previous climb points went to Van Hecke and not Van Barle.....


The lead group has 6:30 on the field, which is led by Dimension Data and Team Sky.


We are roughly at the halfway point of this longest stage.


And elsewhere in the wide world of cycling, Daryl Impey has once again claimed the South African time trial title. Second was Stefan de Bod, with Louis Meintjes third.


With 100 km left to go, the gap has dropped to 5:55. 


#VCV2019 Around 90km to go & the breakaway’s advantage has fallen to inside six minutes. For now, it’s still a pret…

@CCCProTeam Fri, 8th Feb 2019 13:02:08

Over in the Etoile de Besseges, a group of five has a fairly steady 2:30 gap.


We are now heading into the final half of this race, with four more climbs to go (two cat. 1, one each cat.2 and 3).


This just in: the UCI has announced that the first "global" World Championships will be held in Glasgow in 2023. That is road, track, BMX and mountain bike, all to be held on the same venue within a two week period.


AT km 114, the gap is now back over six minutes -- 6:06, to be exact.


Just a reminder that Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) leads the race, ahead of Ion Izagirre (Astana) and Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma). We think there is a good chance that may change today.


60 km to go, 5:46 gap, sunshine and brilliant blue sky. 


Here's Dan back, to take you through the ups and downs the rest of the way.


 Still five minutes for the leaders. Rubio is the best placed, just over a minute down on GC but Astana are leading the chase and are intent on shutting this down. They're working with Dimension Data and are picking off a few seconds per-kilometre. 

The break have lost 15 seconds in less than 1,000m. That's not a good sign as we continue to climb with both the peloton and the break. Astana are really turning the screw. 


Boasson Hagen is tucked in nicely near the front and is well protected. This is big test for him today given the stage profile but the opening time trial showed that he was in top form. At the front of the race the KOM leader attacks from the break. The break have lost a few more seconds, and the gap between Rubio and the main field is down to 4:21.


Rubio builds on his lead and picks up maximum points. 


#VCV2019 We have 55km remaining and the breakaway riders are doing a good job of maintaining their advantage, they…

@MitcheltonSCOTT Fri, 8th Feb 2019 13:52:51

48km remaining from 194km

The break have managed to stem the flow slightly, and the gap is at 4'10 with 48km to go. 


Ernesto Colnago presented with gold Arabesque to celebrate 87th birthday |

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 8th Feb 2019 13:56:37

There's no let up from the bunch, however, as Astana put more men on the front of the peloton. Boasson Hagen is still present and in control, as he sits around fifth wheel, and he'll welcome this from pace-setting from Astana because it keeps the pace high.


Movistar Team Women make season debut at one-day Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana Feminas Team also set to race Se…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 8th Feb 2019 14:03:04

Dimension Data take some of the load off Astana and post a rider on the front as we hit another incline. The break have 3'49 with 41km to go but there are some tired legs out there right now, and a few riders are starting to miss turns.


34km to go and the pace is relentless as a few more teams move their GC hopes into position ahead of the final set of climbs. 3;30 is the gap. 


The ten-man break aren't slowing up either but as we get closer to the finish the riders start to think about holding something back, if the bunch don't make the catch. It's touch and go at the moment though as the peloton continue to bring back a few more seconds. 


Back in the bunch and Valverde wolfs down some food before the final 30km. The world champion is the number one favourite for today's uphill finish and he's had the perfect day so far in that his team have sat back and saved their energy. 


A reminder of the top ten on GC coming into today's stage:

1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 4:23:07
2 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:07
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:08
5 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:11
6 Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:12
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:14
8 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:18
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:19
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:20
11 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky


28km remaining from 194km

Into the final 30km and the gap is down to 2:30. The peloton have this under control with two more climbs still to go. 


Here we go. Bahrain Merida and Movistar make their moves and hit the front with Teuns and Valverde well represented.  Duval, meanwhile, lead the break on a short descent before the road starts to rise once more. It's been up and down all day.


23km remaining from 194km

Just 2'11 for the break as the gap continues to shrink. 


Under two minutes now, with the gap at 1'45, as Astana drill the pace on the front of the peloton. 18km to go.


Dimension Data are down to just a few riders around Boasson Hagen but Astana still have numbers in the mix as Duval again moves to the front of the break and sets the pace on another descent. 


And onto the penultimate clime and it's Duval who keeps the pace high and creates a brief gap.  A few games being played there as it comes together. Then a mechanical for Rubio... he's dropped. 


And Movistar hit the front of the bunch with the gap at 1'30.


The next rider to attack is Alarcon.


As Moreira tries to go after the one leader and now Preben Van Hecke goes over the top and leads. Preben Van Hecke is now with Alarcon.


16km remaining from 194km

16km to go and the break as splintered. We have Barcelo and two more riders clear as the gap drops to 1'25.


A few more riders make it to the three leaders but they're constantly losing time as they continue to attack each other. 


13km to go and Yates, Martin, Van Avermaet, Boasson Hagen, Valverde are all near of the reduced peloton as Preben Van Hecke leads what's left of the break over the top of the climb with the gap at just 29 seconds.


Astana are still doing the majority of the work on the front of the peloton as we descend towards the final climb. Just four riders left from the early break but at this rate they'll be caught before the final climb, or just as we approach the lower slopes. 


12km remaining from 194km

And Astana can tick off the first job, having caught the break with 11km to go. 


Izagirre, Thomas and Teuns are also in the mix, and near the front of the peloton. 10km to go.


Correction, four from the break remain out in front but the gap is under 15 seconds.

Van Hecke is one of the riders still on the attack, and he pushes again as he tries to extend the slim advantage. 8km and it's at 10 seconds. CCC are moving up to the front as well as they look to post Van Avermaet near the front.


8km remaining from 194km

8km to go and the break has been caught, with CCC setting the pace. 


CCC lead, Movistar in second place, with the rest of the field strung out as we reach the final 7km of the stage.


Valverde sits on Van Avermaet's wheel, with Boasson Hagen and stage 2 winner Trentin also in contention. The road is going to start to climb shortly and we're going to see fireworks. Thomas, Kreuziger and Rosa are also there.


An Euskadi rider has attacked with 6km to go but he can only draw out a small gap before CCC raise the pace and begin to hunt him down. 


The lone leader is still out there as the gradient rises and now a rider from ISA attacks. CCC have to shut these moves down but it's Hermans who has attacked. 


The Euskadi rider has been caught and dropped, while Hermans is breaking CCC with 4km to go.


Only one CCC rider can follow at the moment and we're about to have four leaders. De Marchi has linked up with Hermans and he'll just sit on the wheel and wait.


So Dimension Data move back to the front and set the pace as De Marchi drops back to leave Hermans as the lone leader with 4km to go. Hermans, is joined by two more riders but the gap is so small that Valverde and Martin try and make the juncture. 


3km remaining from 194km

All together with Movistar on the front for now. 3km to go.


Colbrelli is there, and so is Trentin as Haig hits the front. Boasson Hagen is also there as well as the road levels out and the gradient starts to favour the sprinters. This is going to be really close. 1km to go.


Haig leads. Trentin on his wheel. Valverde is close by.


1km to go. 


Colbrelli, Trentin, Valverde, Boasson Hagen, take your pick.


Sky have options too.


Mitchelton continue to lead. 


500m to go.


Luis Leon Sanchez leads to the line.


Greg Van Avermaet opens the sprint. Only Trentin can follow.


The Italian can't get back on terms. He can't respond to the world champion. 


And the Olympic champion, Greg Van Avermaet takes the win, ahead of Trentin, with Sanchez I think in third. That's CCC's first win in Europe this season. 


Van Avermaet told CN yesterday that he was ready for the Classics and he's certainly proved that today with a hugely impressive win. That was nothing short of a real power sprint, with Valverde having to settle for fourth.


Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana: Van Avermaet wins stage 3 |

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 8th Feb 2019 15:11:55

Boasson Hagen was in the first group and with no bonus seconds, he should retain his overall lead. We'll wait for confirmation on that front. 


That's three wins this season for CCC. That's not too bad considering they were targeting 20 wins in their first season and it's only mid-February. 


1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team 05:00:16
2 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
3 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6 Sergio Higuita (Col) Fundacion Euskadi
7 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
8 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9 Ion Izaguirre (Spa) Astana Pro Team
10 Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini


De Marchi was key to that win. He marked the move from Hermans, allowed CCC to take a bit of a breather on the front of the bunch, and then was there when Van Avermaet needed positioning in the finale. 


And here is our GC:


1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 9:23:23
2 Ion Izaguirre (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
3 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:08
4 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:11
5 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:12
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:14
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:19
8 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:20
9 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:23
10 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:00:24


And you can find our report, results, and photos from the race, right here.


Thanks for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow with live coverage from stage 4. 


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