Joaquim Rodriguez won stage 3 of the 2014 Volta a Catalunya with one of his trademark accelerations atop the La Molina to claim a solo victory in today’s stage.
Today’s win also moved the Spanish rider up into the overall race lead as well.
A breakaway group of six riders containing Andrey Zeits (Astana), Jack Bobridge (Belkin), Michel Koch (Cannondale), Kevin Reza (Europcar), Branislau Samoilau (CCC Polsat Polkowice) and Rudy Molard (Cofidis) quickly got underway in today’s stage. And, after 15 kilometers of racing, he escapees established a three minute lead over the peloton.
As the race reached the 35 kilometer mark, the breakaway group’s lead had ballooned to a massive 9:30.
Bobridge was the first rider to crest the category 1 climb of the Coubet at the 41 kilometer mark.
As the race tackled the climb of the Creueta, Bobridge was once again the first rider over the summit – subsequently gaining enough points to claim the mountains classification jersey. However, all the while, the peloton had managed to bite into the breakaway’s lead – reducing it to a more manageable lead of four minutes.
Once over the summit, the peloton continued to reel in the breakaway. And, with 18 kilometers remaining, their advantage had been reduced to two minutes. A further 4 kilometers later, the peloton had capped their lead at just one minute.
As the escapee’s lead continued to dwindle, Reza decided to ride clear. However, it wasn’t long before Reze and the remaining escapees were brought back into the fold.
As the race headed into the final 5.3 kilometer climb, Movistar took charge of the peloton. And, with 2 kilometers remaining, Pierre Rolland decided to test his rivals with a short lived attack. Soon after, Jakob Fuglsang tried to make a go of it on his own. But, the Astana rider was quickly caught by Daniel Moreno and Rodriguez, along with a looming peloton of some 40 riders, as the race entered into the final kilometer.
At that point, Chris Froome decided to attack. However, the British rider’s efforts were quickly countered by Rodriguez and Contador, along with Quintana who managed to latch on as well.
Once Froome had exhausted his bid, Rodriguez decided to make his move. Contador tried to follow, but to no avail, as the Spanish rider crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of his rivals.
Stage 3 Results ESP 1 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) 4:50:55 ESP 2 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) + 5 COL 3 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 9 USA 4 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 11 GBR 5 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 13 ITA 6 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 14 NED 7 KELDERMAN, Wilco (BELKIN) USA 8 TALANSKY, Andrew (GARMIN SHARP) FRA 9 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) POL 10 NIEMIEC, Przemyslaw (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 20
General Classification after Stage 3 ESP 1 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) 12:58:00 ESP 2 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) + 5 COL 3 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 9 USA 4 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 11 GBR 5 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 13 ITA 6 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 14 NED 7 KELDERMAN, Wilco (BELKIN) USA 8 TALANSKY, Andrew (GARMIN SHARP) FRA 9 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) POL 10 NIEMIEC, Przemyslaw (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 20
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