Aqua Blue Sport sprinter Adam Blythe finished third on the opening road stage of the Vuelta a España in the French seaside town of Gruissan.
Blythe was just behind the Quick Step Floors pair of Yves Lampert and Matteo Trentin on a day of high winds which caused splits in the peloton in the closing stages of the race.
Echelons had been expected today and the breeze was gusting well in excess of 26 kilometres per hour in a tail-crosswind as the race sped southwards along the coast from the historic town of Nimes.
The wind was such that the peloton realised the futility of breakaways and all riders stayed together in the peloton. There was a momentary split in the pack with 60 kilometres to go but it was over a short few minutes later.
The next flashpoint was with six kilometres to go as Team Sky caused a dramatic split in the pack. Aqua Blue Sport made it into the front section as Mark Christian and Blythe succeeded in making the junction.
It was a frenetic ride to the finish as the gusting high speed wind played havoc with the race. Lampaert went clear alone inside the final kilometre and soloed to victory as Blythe was edged out by Trentin for second. Lampaert has now taken over the leader’s red jersey from Rohan Dennis.
After the stage Blythe said: “It was good today – bit disappointed that we were so close but so far. I was feeling good today and I was really up for the stage. The team worked really well today and managed the crosswind sections really well. I have been looking at this stage for a while but you have to be happy with third really and I am looking forward to the next stages and getting that win.”
Good man! Top 3 two days on the bounce and very different parcours. Chapeau !