Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) took a hard-fought stage 3 victory at Volta a Calatunya, in what was a thrilling last kilometre on the summit finish to La Molina. After a surprise attack against the event’s headlining overall contenders, the Irishman muscled his way to the finish with the stage win despite a desperate chase from runner-up Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) in third. BMC teammates Tejay van Garderen and Richie Porte finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Martin’s victory bumped him up into the overall race lead by six seconds ahead of Contador and Bardet. The battle for the overall victory will continue with another challenging day in the mountains at the Volta a Catalunya’s stage 4 from Bagà to Port Ainé.
The final climb to La Molina
At the base of the finale climb to La Molina, the field’s top climbers moved to the front with Contador and Froome, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) waiting for the right time to strike out.
Lotto Soudal’s Louis Vervaeke was the first to make a move with 10km to go and with no massive response from the peloton he gained some time, sailing passed fading breakaway rider Pieter Weening (Roompot).
Team Sky towed what was left of the field up the shallower slopes, blasting passed Vervaeke with five kilometres go to. They held a tight grip over the next kilometre as the 25 remaining men calculated how they were going to take the finish.
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