Vuelta a Burgos (st. 3)
Courageous Spaniard from Movistar Team goes on attack at final ascent of Retuerta, climbs onto 7th overall as he looks for a good result following Pologne. Rojas now 4th -with Gorka Izagirre in 8th- as Van Poppel (SKY) claims another convincing sprint win
Spaniard Rubén Fernández showed on Thursday at the longest stage (192km) of this year's Vuelta a Burgos that he's more than ready to hobnob within the top guns of the race. Two weeks ago, he finished sixth in the Tour de Pologne and proved to be in form, spending long days at the front under the rain and in climate conditions -under 10ºC- not favouring his body, accustomed to heat. Today, in a much more favourable scenario, on the slopes of the Cat-3 Alto de la Retuerta with 20km from Villarcayo's finish, he kept the pace of three GC contenders in Contador (TNK), Brambilla (EQS) and Cataldo (AST).
The third day of racing in northern Spain started at the Sedano valley, with a five-man group breaking clear – Lizarralde (EUS), Barker (ONE), Del Pino (BUR), Hoekstra (TGA) and Berlato (NIP)- which was caught just before the last climb. The first move came from Contador, later followed by a three-man pursuit including Rubén Fernández. It wasn't a decisive move GC-wise, yet it was a show of what the Movistar Team can bring in the race finale, which looks to be much. Another man from Murcia, José Joaquín Rojas, also tried to get in the mix at the final sprint, finishing in 7th spot as Danny van Poppel (SKY) claimed another convincing success.
Fernández (7th) and Gorka (8th) also remain within three seconds of the race lead, as Jaimerena's lads tackle the final duo of stages in the Vuelta a Burgos in perfect position. Stage four (145km) will be another flat route with a sting at the fail, from Aranda de Duero to Lerma's cobbled finish after two previos ascents to the Majadal (Cat-3), prelude to Saturday's decisive, seven-climb showdown.