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Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2016: Stage 3


 Welcome to the Pais Vasco! Today will be another hard-fought day in the mountains.

 The third stage of the Vuelta Cyclist al Pais Vasco takes us 194.5km from Vitoria to Gasteiz-Lesaka.

We join the race just as the riders start up the first climb of the day, the cat 3. Alto de Uitzi, 2 km long and an average gradient of 7.6%.

After only 8 km, a group of five got away: Biel Kadri (AG2R), Stefan Denifl (IAM), Domingos Goncalves (Caja Rural), Sam Oomen (Giant-Alpecin) and Daniel Tekelhaimanot (Dimension Data). They have built up a comfortable lead of up to 5:20.

We have 5 ranked climbs, with the last one 9 km before the finish.

After the final climb, they hit the flat again at km 186.9 and from there on it is a flat run-in to the finish. A good chance for any sprinters who might still be around.....

We have already had one intermediate sprint today, and it went to Teklehaimanot ahead of Denifl and Goncalves.

100km remaining from 194km

The mountain points went to Conclaves, Denifl and Kadri, in that order.

All 153 riders took to the start today.

They are now on their way up the second climb, the Alto de Usategieta, cat 2. Oomen is now the virtual race leader.

Mikel Landa of Sky is in the leader’s jersey today, after winning the stage 2 mountaintop finish yesterday. In fact, the GC top five is identical to the stage finish line-up.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has had some sort of mechanical problem and has taken the bike of his teammate Jesus Herrada.

Landa also leads the points classification, followed by Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), who won the first stage, and Kelderman.

80km remaining from 194km

In the sprint classification, it is Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) ahead of Dario Cataldo (Astana) and Stefan Denifl (IAM).

75km remaining from 194km

Sunshine today in the Pais Vasco! Too bad the same can't be said for the Scheldeprijs in Belgium.

Speaking of the Scheldeprijs, we have a live report for it too. Feel free to switch back and forth between the two! 

68km remaining from 194km

69km remaining from 194km

Edet also leads the mountains ranking, followd by Jonathan Lastra and Angel Madrazo, both of Caja Rural-Seguros.

59km remaining from 194km

Oomen is only 20 years old and in his first year at this level. The young Giant-Alpecin rider has already shown what he is capable of, having finished third in the Criterium International.

52km remaining from 194km

In yesterday’s second stage, Mikel Landa of Sky jumped from the favourites group near the end and outsprinted Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo) for the stage win and overall lead. Read all about it here.

We understand that Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff) has abandoned. That will be a blow for Alberto Contador, who has already lost teammate Sergio Paulinho.

46km remaining from 194km

The gap is falling rapidly, now at 2.33. Remember, we still have three climbs to come!

40km remaining from 194km

We just had another intermediate sprint and are awaiting the results. The next mountain is not far away.

34km remaining from 194km

Kadri is having trouble keeping up with the leaders. Teklehaimanot is gone too. Up they go!

Goncalves is the next to fall back. That leaves us with Oomen and Denial up front. 

Attack! Michael Albasini of Orica-GreenEdge takes off out of the field!

He flies right past Kadri.

Albasini is climbing steadily and now catches Goncalves.

We have a group of three chasers, Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Laurens de Plus (Etixx-QuickStep) and Dario Cataldo (Astana) They have caught Albasini, giving us now four chasers.

31km remaining from 194km

Sorry, let's make that 45 seconds to the group of four, with the field at 1:02.

The field rides across a dam, but doesn't have time to look at the huge lake.

Our two leaers are still going strong and look good!

Now going up the cat. 1 Alto de Agina, 24.5km to go. The group four has grown to six or seven, but they now have only a slight lead over the peloton.

Pierre Rolland has joined the chase group, along with a Cannondale rider who we have not yet recognized.

They all go around a switchback and the road goes up steeply as they near the top.

Sky has decided to take matters in hand and has moved to the front of the chasing peloton.

Apparently it is Simon Yates and not Michael Albasini.  Or both are in the group. It is a very liquid situation.

Denifil takes the mountain points and thus the mountain jersey. 

18km remaining from 194km

16km remaining from 194km

A small mountain stream trickles alongside the road, and they are going through lovely forests. No time for the riders to enjoy the natural beauty, though!

They have hit bottom -- so to speak -- and have now started climbing again. The last mountain of the day!

Apparently it is Adam Yates, not Simon. Twins.....

Only a minimal gap now, around 10 seconds.

Navarro takes off alone to see if he can't do something here. 

He looks back but no one is on his tail.

Navarro up out of the saddle as he heads to the top of the climb.

Brambilla has been caught by the favourites -- Contador, Quintana and so on.

The peloton, including yellow jersey Landa of course, is still close behind the chase group. Navarro makes his way down the descent.

Roman Kreuziger takes to the head of the chase for Tinkoff.

6km remaining from 194km

Only 20 seconds between Navarro and the peloton, with 4 riders in between.

3 km to go for Navarro but only a handful of seconds.

He has been caught now, and the peloton will have this group in a second too.

Seve Cummings of Dimension Data has jumped from the field and taken the lead.

He held on to take the stage win, just ahead of the field.

Simon Gerrans and Fabio Feline round out the top three today.

Today's top ten:

And the GC, which looks pretty much like before:

That's it for today! Now jump on over to catch the end of the Scheldeprijs! 

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