Volta a Catalunya (3ª)
Belgian new Volta GC leader after long solo action in the mountains. Nairo Quintana joins late attack, finishes 5th just ahead of bunch, containing Valverde, Soler.
Thomas De Gendt (LTS) took the day’s honours and the leaders’ jersey on stage three of the 2018 Volta a Catalunya with a long-range, strong attack on the entire bunch over the late part of the 153km route from Sant Cugat del Vallés to Camprodon. After leaving his four break companions behind, the Belgian managed to stay 20″ ahead of the main field, the Movistar Team having worked hard all day to keep GC leader Alejandro Valverde safe and near the front.
As Mitchelton-Scott took over the final part of the Collabós (Cat-2) ascent, the gap to De Gendt started to decreased yet stayed at 1’20” with 14km remaining. It was there, near the summit, when a series of accelerations started out by Marc Soler created a four-man pursuit, with Simon Yates (MTS), Frank (ALM), Pinot (GFC) and Nairo Quintana. The G2 ammassed a 30″ gap over the field; however, the lack of understanding inside that group and a late push from the bunch made Nairo’s group behind caught -Quintana still finished 5th in the stage-. The bunch was still split into two at the finish by a crash with 1km to go, narrowly saved by José Joaquín Rojas.
23″ is the new gap between De Gendt and Valverde (2nd) before the unexpected Queen stage -today’s route having been shortened and deprived of its mountain-top finish in Vallter 2000- in the 2018 Volta: 170km with the climbs of Jou (Cat-1), La Creueta (HC) and La Molina (Cat-1), including its final, short uphill section to the line.
Pictures (c): Photo Gomez Sport