Tough Uphill Finish Sees Samuel Sánchez Sixth on GC22. August 2016, Dumbría. Mirador de Ezaro (ESP) — Road Team
A brutal uphill finish on stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana saw Samuel Sánchez cross the line in eighth place and move in to sixth place on the general classification.
The short but steep climb, which reached gradients of more than 30 percent and averaged 13.8 percent, was a shock to legs after more than 170km of racing.
The peloton allowed a seven-rider breakaway escape after multiple attempts early in the stage, building a lead of seven minutes. The group slowly broke up on the category 3 and 2 climbs, leaving three riders in front on the final climb of Mirador de Ezaro.
The peloton came charging home and the general classification contenders attacked as they hit the climb, where a battle to take the leader’s red jersey played out.
Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), the sole survivor of the breakaway, managed to hold off a small group to take the stage win, while Ruben Fernandez (Movistar Team) crossed the line in second place to claim the overall lead.
Sánchez came closely behind, losing 33 seconds to Fernandez, and now sits 46 seconds behind on the general classification going into stage 4.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“Today was not the hardest stage of the Vuelta a Espana but it was the first stage that could really make a difference in the race. It was a really, really, super hard uphill finish. On the first two climbs I was feeling good and worked on defending my position as we approached the final climb. I tried to stay up there with the Movistar Team riders, that, and I was not too far behind when I crossed the line in eighth place. I am now sixth overall on GC so I’m happy. The Vuelta a Espana is a long race and we are only on stage 3, so I’ll take things day by day.”
Max Sciandri, Sports Director:
“The plan for today was to keep an early eye on the breakaway and see if we could put a guy in it which didn’t end up happening. Of course on a stage like this we wanted to protect Samuel Sánchez who is our leader. Tejay van Garderen was going to see what he wanted to do with about 30km to go. He wasn’t feeling 100 percent so rode with the main bunch, which will set him up nicely for stage wins in the next two weeks. The rest of the guys helped Sánchez out with his position leading into the final climb.”
The fact that a stage this hard came on day three means that the gap between GC riders and stage riders is quite clear. Sometimes in other Grand Tours it takes 8 or 9 days to sort it out but the GC group is really quite defined. We have different, but clear objectives. Sánchez is our leader and we are going to protect him as much as possible, but of course we are going to try and wins stages as the race progresses.”
Vuelta a Espana
Stage 3: Marín › Dumbría. Mirador de Ezaro (176.4km)
Top 3: Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), Ruben Fernandez (Movistar Team), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 8. Samuel Sanchez, 20. Ben Hermans, 45. Darwin Atapuma
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 6. Samuel Sanchez, 15. Darwin Atapuma, 16. Ben Hermans
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.