Jay McCarthy (BORA-hansgrohe) won the third stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco today. The Australian won in a bunch sprint ahead of Alexandr Riabushenko (UAE-Team Emirates) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky).
Today´s third stage took the peloton from Bermeo to Valdegovia over a 185-kilometre undulating course with the riders facing three categorised climbs. After 15 kilometres of racing, two riders – Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Chris Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) led the race, as another group tried to bridge across and the peloton was already 1’15” behind.
The chasers – Pavel Sivakov (Team Sky), Ion Irisarri (CajaRural-RGA), Aritz Bagües (Euskadi Murias), Ben King (Dimension Data), Brendan Canty (EF Education First-Drapac) and Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin were able to close the gap, the new eight-man breakaway had an advantage of more than six minutes over the peloton after 55km of racing.
The lead for the eight escapees was around five minutes with 90 kilometres remaining but the gap started to drop steadily thereafter. With three kilometres remaining, it was all back together and the excepted bunch sprint was set up. Gregor Mühlberger worked hard to bring his teammate, Jay McCarthy, into a good position. In a hectic finale, the Australian rider took the stage win confidently, his second WorldTour victory this season.
Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) finished in 6th and kept hold of the yellow jersey. He goes into tomorrow’s fourth stage time-trial with an 8″ lead over Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) with Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) in third at 39″.
“The team did a stellar job today and worked the whole day really hard to support our GC leaders and help me in the finale, if it all came back together,” said McCarthy.
“Felix and Cece rode super strong to control the race in the last 30km, then Gregor came in the last 5 kilometres to the front and did a great lead-out for me. I started the sprint early and gave it all. I am really happy with this victory and want to thank my teammates for their support.”