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Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2018: Stage 3


70km remaining from 184km

Yet gain there is a break up the road but the peloton is chasing them down for the expected aggressive finale.

The race is already on a plateau but there are a series of climbs in the finale.  

It's a classic sprig day in northern Spain, with spells of sun and showers.

Astana and Team Sunweb are leading the chase of the break. Sunweb seem keen to set up Michael Matthews for a sprint finish.

The riders in the break are: Pavel Sivakov (Sky), Ion Irisarri (CajaRural-RGA), Aritz Bagues (Euskadi), Ben King (Dimension Data), Brendan Canty (EF-Drapac), Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin), Chris Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal).

67km remaining from 184km

65km remaining from 184km

Astana is driving the pace. It seems for local resident Pello Bilbao. He was strong in the opening stages, finishing third and seventh.

We've added the names of the seven riders in the break to our situation column on the right. 

61km remaining from 184km

This is the break of the day.

There are some interesting names in the break. De Gendt could be a real threat to the peloton today if he is at his best. There is no better breakaway rider than the Belgian.

56km remaining from 184km

53km remaining from 184km

Smit drops back to the Katusha team car to talk tactics. 

It will be interesting to see Pavel Sivakov (Team Sky) does today. 

Romain Bardet is sat behind his AG2R team car. He quickly changes a shoe with the help of two teammates.

47km remaining from 184km

Rincon and Canty are the first to crack.

Smit is also struggling and is spat out the back.  

The race is riding through the stunning Valderejo national park. The roads are quiet but with lots of Basque fan out cheering the riders.

As expected, the four strongest riders left up front are De Gendt, Juul Jensen, Sivakov and King. 

The peloton makes it safely around a tight downhill corner and accelerates again. 

This is a screen grab of Bardet's quick shoe change. He did it well.

The peloton is still being dragged along by Astana, with Moreno Moser doing much of the work on the front. 

Team Sky are also gathering at the front of the peloton.

Upfront a gradual rise is too much for Ben King. The American is dropped from the attack as De Gendt and Juul Jensen keep the pace high. 

37km remaining from 184km

It is raining hard at the finish but the roads are dry at the moment. However a wet finish will change the outcome of the stage. 

De Gendt and Juul Jensen are doing licks on the front, sharing the effort as they try to keep the peloton at bay.

32km remaining from 184km

They face the La Tejera climb next. 

It climbs steady for 3km. And will be give a real indication of the chances of Juul Jensen and De Gendt.

Here comes the rain. 

There is also a strong side/head wind blowing from the riders' left. 

Team Sky have four riders on the front, tucked behind Chag Haga's wheel, who is riding to set up Matthews in the sprint.

De Gendt seems tired now but will not give up until the peloton catches him and Jensen.

Ben King waves as he is swept up by the peloton.

Here we go! Sky and Astana are trying to split the peloton on the climb. 

Kwiato and De la Cruz go clear with 25km to go.

Omar Fraile tried to go with them but was soon distanced.

The two Sky riders are only 32 seconds down on Juul Jensen and De Gendt now.

21km remaining from 184km

Kwiato and De la Cruz lead the peloton by 15 seconds or so. But now Quick-Step Floors is chasing to control De La Cruz. 

Here comes the rain as BMC and Bora also help the peloton chase.

Much of the final 18km descent towards the finish but there is a strong head wind in the final 5km.

17km remaining from 184km

16km remaining from 184km

The peloton is 30 seconds back as they get some help from the TV moto slipstream. 

Bora and Quick Step are leading the chase. 

A full rainbow can be seen from the roadside. The sun is out but the roads are very wet. 

Up front De Gendt cracks as the break fights into a head wind. 

The tough rolling terrain and lots of headwinds finally cracked the Lotto Soudal rider. 

Jensen is still fighting to stay in the break as Kwiato drops back after one last turn. 

12km remaining from 184km

De la Cruz is tucked in an aero position but Jensen looks cooked.

De la Cruz calls on Jensen to do a turn but the Dane admits he's finished and just hanging on. 

Behind BMC attack in pursuit of the duo. 

It's Dylan Tuens.

He's saved his strength for a move in the finale.

8km remaining from 184km

The riders turn left onto a country road. 

6km remaining from 184km

De la Cruz and Jensen lead by just 10 seconds. 

5km remaining from 184km

4km remaining from 184km

3km remaining from 184km

Herrada is one of them but they're going to caught. 

It's all together with 3km to go. 

Now Rojas kicks away. 

2km remaining from 184km

2km remaining from 184km

1km remaining from 184km

1km remaining from 184km

He's fading fast. 

500m to go. 

It's a hectic sprint finish. 

Jay McCarthy takes it! 

The Australia hit the front early, moved across to take the shortest line and won it well.  

McCarthy got an excellent lead out from teammate Gregor Mühlberger and they rightly celebrate together.

It is McCarthy's second win of 2018 after also taking the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. 

This is the top ten for stage 3: 

Kwiatkowski was an impressive third after trying a late attack with De la Cruz. 

Alaphilippe was well placed but eased up in the sprint to finish sixth.

This is the new top ten on the GC.

Alaphilippe leads Roglic by 8 seconds, with Gorka Izagirre at 39 seconds.

McCarthy was happy to have taken his second WorldTour win of 2018. 

McCarthy climbs onto the top step of the podium and enjoys his moment of glory.  

That was another thrilling stage of racing in the hilly Basque Country. 

This is the first photo of McCarthy's win.

Julian Alaphilippe kept the leader's yellow jersey and will start the time trial last and in yellow.

It's been another hectic day of racing. In Belgium Quick-Step Floors won again, taking win number 24.

Marcel Kittel and his Katusha teammates controlled the peloton despite the new route on the exposed roads of Zeeland, only for the German to suffer a third puncture in the final 15km. 

Click here to see our full race report and photo gallery from Scheldeprijs. 

If you've stuck with us, you're in form a special treat. 

Featuring Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Niki Terpstra, Philippe Gilbert and a string of other key personalities, the film tells the story of the cobbled classics through the eyes of the riders and their support staff.

We have more photos of McCarthy's win in the Basque Country.

Here McCarthy hits the line first. 

Here McCarthy celebrates his victory as Alexandr Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates) expresses his disappointment.

To see more photos from the sprint and the stage, and o read our full stage report, click here.

We'll be back for live coverage for Thursday's time trial stage to understand who will emerge as the overall contenders in this year's Tour of the Basque Country. 

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