Vuelta a Burgos (st. 3)
Another round of crosswinds and rivals’ greater strength take the better from Valverde (15th), Mas at first mountain-top finish in Spain.
/ Today’s route
One big climb, the Picón Blanco (HC), with no shelter from the wind in its second half and almost 8km at 9.3% average gradient, to cap off a short, very intense stage: 150km with four other Cat-3 ascents, the ‘altos’ of Mota, Escalerón, Ailanes and Retuerta.
/ Weather report
A really hot Thursday, with temperatures up to 35ºC at the foot of the Picón Blanco in Espinosa de los Monteros. Combined with that, strong gusts of wind halfway through the race, as a result of an African air mass covering northern Spain, made life quite harder for the peloton.
/ Keys to the race
- It was a numerous early break, and one with a big gap! Adrià, Galván (EKP), Bol, Osorio (BBH), Martín (EUS), Dina (KTX), Nicolau (CJR), Theuns (TFS) and Stalnov (AST) opened nearly eleven minutes over a bunch which only started to clearly reduce that gap as they faced the stronger winds.
- Less than 60km from the finish, the peloton exploded into several pieces, with a move by Bora-Hansgrohe and INEOS taking nearly their whole teams ahead of a second group that featured Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas. The Blues’ two GC references got back, after a frantic pursuit, as they reached the town of Villarcayo (-40km).
- At the Alto de Retuerta (Cat-3), with Carlos Verona and Antonio Pedrero also back to the main field, Adrià jumped away from the breakaway and started a solo move which took him with a 3’30” advantage to the foot of the Picón Blanco (-8km). Nicolau also resisted close to the Catalan in second place.
- Both were caught, just over 2km before the end, by a GC group both Valverde and Mas lost contact with halfway through the ascent. Remco Evenepoel (DQT) would go on to show his immense talent and win ahead of George Bennett (TJV, 2nd, +18″) and Landa (TBM, 3rd, +32″), with Alejandro in 15th place (+2’09”) as best Movistar Team rider.
/ Upcoming goals
The sprinters will take center stage back on Friday with another flat finish on stage four of the race, after 163km between Gumiel de Izán and Roa de Duero. It will be the prelude to the showdown on the slopes of the Lagunas de Neila, on Saturday 1st August.
Imagen portada (c): Photo Gomez Sport