Wednesday 4 April 2012

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 3 report and results

Stage 3 began in Vittoria-Gasteiz and immediately headed into a flat initial 35km before arriving at the first climb Alto de Kruzieta (Cat 2). From 55km onwards it was climbs all the way with two Cat 2s, a Cat 3 and a Cat 1 in the following 100km.

Sammy Sanchez
(image credit: Petit Brun CC BY-SA 2.0)
A small lead group made up of riders all with a chance of winning today formed as the race negotiated Cat 1 Alto de Usartza, the final climb up to the finish line and the place where Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan), Joachin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) decided they'd all had quite enough of hanging around and left everyone else behind with 4.5km to go.

It's the third time that Sanchez has won on this climb, which has apparently left him fully aware of what he's doing because although Rodriguez and Horner stayed with him until the end, they found themselves simply unable to get the better of him. There'll be some celebrations throughout Euskal Herria tonight: Sanchez, who now leads the General Classification, may be an Asturian by birth but he leads what is to all intents purposes the Basque national team - and a cat born in a fishmonger's is not a haddock.

Stage preview here. Full results (when available) here.

Top Ten
  1.  Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez Euskaltel-Euskadi 3:58:15
  2.  Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver Katusha ST
  3.  Chris Horner RadioShack-Nissan ST
  4.  Bauke Mollema Rabobank +12"
  5.  Damiano Cunego Lampre-ISD ST (Cyclopunk top tip #2 for the stage)
  6.  Tony Martin Omega Pharma-Quickstep ST
  7.  Michele Scarponi Lampre-ISD ST
  8.  Sergio Luis Henao Montoya Sky ST
  9.  Robert Kiserlovski Astana ST
  10.  Lars Petter Nordhaug ST

Birthday boy Thomas Löfkvist (Sky) was 53rd, 1'52" behind Sanchez. Best Brit was Luke Rowe (Sky) in 128th place. Cyclopunk's top tip Gorka Izagirre? 93rd. :-)

Tour of the Basque Country: 1 (video) / 2 (video) / 3 (video) / 4 (video) / 5 (video) / 6

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