Spaniard backed by great Movistar teamwork en route to Gijón, finishes in 3rd place behind Marque (CAR) and Urtasun (EUS) as Intxausti and López make the favourites' group. No time gaps between GC contenders at Romandie.
Movistar Team did a huge load of work to start the defense of Javi Moreno’s last year victory in the Vuelta a Asturias, whose 65th edition started under the rain for most of the 162 kilometers of stage one from Oviedo to Gijón. Already from the first climb, El Fito (Cat. 1), the telephone squad took responsibility to control the gap on the leading group of seven riders, from which Spaniard Alejandro Marque (CAR) jumped with 70k remaining on an early gamble against the favourites even through the steep ramps of San Martín de Huerces (Cat. 2), crossing the finish ling with 29 seconds over his nearest pursuiters.
Right behind, the chasing by the group directed by José Luis Jaimerena left a 21-rider group on front with three Blues present: Moreno (3rd), Beñat Intxausti (9th) and David López (11th), all of them with their GC chances intact before an exhausting program for Saturday, with a morning sector of 93 kilometers from Teverga to Avilés and a crucial 14-kilometer, individual time trial around Piedras Blancas in the evening.
Calm day for Blues in Switzerland
On the other hand, the 66th Tour de Romandie (UCI World Tour) underwent no changes between the main GC contenders after stage three, 157 kilometers from La Neuveville to a final climb in Charmey that could not break the bunch of favourites. With their eight riders completing the stage with no troubles on that main group, Movistar Team keep Rubén Plaza (10th), Rui Costa, Jonathan Castroviejo and Vasil Kiryienka within the best twenty at the leaderboard commanded by Brit Bradley Wiggins (SKY), just one second before Luis León Sánchez (RAB) after the Spaniard won the 70-rider field sprint of the day. Stage four tomorrow will be the Queen of this edition, and is set to dramatically sort things out in the overall: 184k from Bulle to Sion, featuring the climbs of Basse-Mendaz (Cat. 2), Veysonnaz (Cat. 1) and St-Martin (Cat. 1) in the final section.