De Marchi in the Breakaway Before Another Hectic Finish in the Basque Country5. April 2017, San Sebastián (ESP) — Road Team
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco is known for its non-stop ups-and-downs and stage 3 was no exception with Alessandro De Marchi spending the day out in front over the punchy 160.5km course before a fast run in to the line saw David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) take a solo stage win.
It was a very fast start to stage 3 in the Basque Country with over 47km covered in the first hour of racing as riders battled to make it into the day’s breakaway.
Dylan Teuns and Danilo Wyss were both part of early attacks before Alessandro De Marchi was able to make a move as part of a nine-rider group that had extended a 2’20” advantage as they went over the top of the Puerto de Udana, the first of the day’s six categorized climbs.
The breakaway’s advantage continued to grow steadily before it settled at 3’35” at the halfway mark of the 160.5km stage.
Despite bringing the group to within 2’30” on slopes of the third climb of the day, the peloton struggled to control the gap of the breakaway, and it was soon back up to almost 3 minutes with 60km to go.
Inside the final 50km of the day, an increase in pace from peloton saw the breakaway brought to within one minute before De Marchi and three of his fellow escapees forged on at the front of the race.
Eventually, only De Marchi and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) remained at the head of the race, and they weren’t going to give up their lead without a fight as they began a high-speed descent of the Puerto de Andazarrate.
After a valiant effort from the leading duo over the majority of the stage, the peloton made the final catch on the approach the final climb of the day with 20km to go.
David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) launched a solo attack on the Puerto de Mendizorrotz and forced the main bunch to organize a highly motivated chase behind him.
In the end, De La Cruz was able to hold on to a narrow advanatge to take both the stage win, and move into the overall lead, with a reduced group of 40 chasers, including Samuel Sánchez, just three seconds behind him on the line.
Loic Vliegen was involved in a crash during today's stage but fortunately he was able to continue racing.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Alessandro De Marchi:
"I felt strong today, and the breakaway seemed good at the beginning. With nine guys, you can go pretty far as part of the breakaway. Like in Catalunya and at Paris - Nice I played my cards the best I could today, but it seems I have to wait long for that stage win. I am a little disappointed as you try and try but then you don’t get the result you are looking for. I am happy with my shape, and I will keep trying, but maybe I just have to be a little more patient.”
“This is a good race for those who want to attack, like me. We have two day’s in front of us with more opportunities for myself and the other guys on the team so, we will see what happens.”
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
"We want to see the riders race agressively this week and today that meant having a rider in the breakaway. The guys were all motivated to do that and we had a rider in every move before Alessandro De Marchi made it into the day's successful breakway."
"To have a guy like De Marchi in a breakaway is always a huge advanatge and he always rides to win. He has big engine, he is an intelligent riders and he knows exactly when to make his move. Today he made no mistakes out in front and I think he definitely had the legs to win the stage if the bunch hadn't pulled so hard on the penulimtate climb."
"Behind him the guys did a great job to protect our leader's and it was good to Samuel Sánchez sticking with the chase group behind De La Cruz and minimizing the time difference."
"Unfortunately Nicolas Roche found himself needing a wheel change from Dylan Teuns on the last climb so, he unfortunately lost some time today. But if it wasn't for that I think he would have also been up at the front."
"We will continue to race for stage wins here and everyone will have the opportunity to go for the breakaway and to race for results."
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
Stage 3: Vitoria-Gasteiz > San Sebastián, 160.5km
Top 3: 1. David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 3. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 34. Samuel Sánchez 58. Nicolas Roche 78. Dylan Teuns