photo credits @ VaC
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) emerged victorious in stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya today, after he out-dueled Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) atop the summit finish of La Molina.
The Belgian rider attacked from a 40-strong peloton with 4.5 kilometers to go, but a determined Roglič managed to bridge his way to the lone leader in a final battle to the finish, with Evenepoel accelerating away during the final kilometer to finish two seconds ahead of his Slovenian rival.
A small breakaway group containing Richard Carapaz (EFEducation_EasyPost), Guillame Martin (Cofidis), Simone Petilli (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty), Filippo Zanna (Jayco-AIUla), Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros), Maxim Van Gils (Lotto DSTNY) and Niklas Eg (Uno-X) escaped the peloton early-on in today’s 178.6 kilometer stage from Olost to La Molina.
From there, the escapees went on to quickly open up an advantage of more than five minutes over the chase.
However, as the climbs started to ramp up, the breakaway gradually began to shatter with Cepeda, Eg and Petilli the first rider to be distanced, while solid work at the front of the peloton by Soudal Quick-Step continued to whittled down the lead group’s advantage.
Petilli, Eg and Cepeda were later reeled in by peloton, while the remaining trio led by Carapaz continued on.
The Col de la Crueta had taken its toll on tired legs, and as they descended the mountain, Carapaz, Martin and Van Gils had an advantage of just over one minute 30 seconds.
Carapaz appeared to be the sharpest in the leading group, and it appeared that he may be saving something for the finale. With 17 kilometres to go, the trio of leaders were careering towards the base of the final climb to La Molina, Soudal Quick-Step had all their riders lined up on the front of the bunch, driving the pace as they looked to set up Evenepoel. Carapaz, Martin and Van Gils had 28 seconds on the peloton as they began the final climb.
With the peloton in sight, Martin faded and was soon swept up by the Soudal Quick-Step train. Carapaz was the next to be swallowed up, and Van Gils would follow moments later. Suddenly, with four kilometres left to race, Evenepoel launched a huge move from the main field which only Roglič could follow. Ciccone couldn’t answer the power from Evenepoel, and the duo soon moved clear of the select group behind them.
As the riders hit a brief descent before the final punch to the finish, Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) powered away in pursuit of the World Champion and Roglič but it would be to no avail, as the chasers soon reeled him back in.
Meanwhile up the road, Roglič appeared to be refusing to work, keeping Evenepoel just in front of him as the Slovenian got set to launch a trademark powerful sprint for the line. However, the World Champion would have the final say.
On a steep hairpin bend just before the finish, the Belgian launched a vicious sprint for the line to which the Slovenian had no answer. Evenepoel powered away from his rival to land a huge victory ahead of a tough second-half to the week.
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