Vuelta al País Vasco (st. 3)
Rojas (15th) tries late attack, finishes as best Movistar Team rider in lumpy, rainy, fast-paced day three to Valdegovía, prior to Thursday’s time trial in Navarra. Landa stays 4th overall; Nairo now 12th.
Australian allrounder Jay McCarthy (BOH) claimed Wednesday’s win on a demanding stage three in the 2018 Itzulia Basque Country, 184km from Bermeo to Valdegovía with changing weather, three categorized climbs and a lumpy second half of the race, which provided many attacks by bigs names ultimately chased down by the bunch.
The Movistar Team, which made part of those attempts in the narrow run-in to the finish with José Joaquín Rojas -eventually 15th at the ‘volata’-, protected well both Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana to avoid any time losses. Both Blue leaders crossed the finish within a selected first group, about 90 riders, to keep their GC places from the previous stages: Mikel sits in 4th spot, 43″ behind Julian Alaphilippe (QST), with Nairo Quintana now in 12th place, 58″ down.
The Vuelta al País Vasco will tackle an atypical, flat ITT (19.4km) in Lodosa and Sartaguda, at the Movistar Team’s home region Navarra, on wind-exposed roads where their two leaders will try to limit their losses to keep a chance at the overall success before the mountainous duo of stages that will end the race on Friday and Saturday.
— TT start times (Thursday 5th, all CEST): De la Parte 15.11, Rojas 15.39, Anacona 15.44, Valls 15.53, Betancur 16.01, Quintana 16.42, Landa 16.58.
Picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport