Tour de la Provence (st. 3)
Edu -8th overall, 11th today-, Lluís -12th in GC- finish with Antonio Pedrero inside main GC group at Circuit Paul Ricard; Gorka Izagirre (AST) stays in the lead with one day remaining.
Despite all attempts to split the field in the five laps of the circuit around the Côte du Brulat -just over 3km at 7% gradient-, there were no significant gaps at the end of stage three in the 2019 Tour de la Provence, starting in Aubagne and finishing at the Le Castellet track, venue for the Formula 1 French Grand Prix
A 25-rider group, led home by Philippe Gilbert (DQT), reached the finish together after the attacks against race leader Gorka Izagirre (AST) were not taken to fruition. Inside that first echelon, and following a big effort after initially missing out, were three riders from the Movistar Team: the eve’s winner Edu Prades, 11th across the line; Lluís Mas, once again really solid to take 14th; and Antonio Pedrero, who dropped back only in the final meters.
#TourDeLaProvence Philippe Gilbert (DQT) se lleva una muy agitada 3ª etapa en el Circuit Paul Ricard. Grupo de 25 ciclistas en meta, con @eduprades -siempre 8º en la general, a 21" de Gorka Izagirre (AST); 11º hoy-, @LluisMasBonet (14º) y @pedrero_antonio. 📺 @lachainelequipe pic.twitter.com/nMahnyV85Z
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) February 16, 2019
The work by the squad directed José Luis Jaimerena helps Prades and Mas stay in 8th and 12th overall, respectively, within a minute of the ‘mondrian’ leader’s jersey, with one stage to go: day four, Avignon to Aix-en-Provence, over 173km of lumpy roads where attacks will surely appear again.
On a negative, final sidenote, Daniele Bennati was a DNS for stage three after he caught fever and illness during Friday.