Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) took the win on stage 3 of the Vuelta a España when he sprinted home ahead of David de la Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) as this year’s Tour de France winner took over the leader’s red jersey.
Today’s 158.5-kilometre stage from Prades Conflent Canigo to Andorra la Vella saw the first significant gaps emerge as the race entered the mountains.
On the final climb of the day – the Alto de la Comella – a select group emerged which battled for the stage win and Nibali jumped clear inside the final kilometre to take the win.
“We’re only on the third day. It wasn’t easy to be ready for climbs and to win such a stage contesting the sprint” said Nibali speaking just after the finish “I had some difficulties on the last ascent, where my rivals keep a high tempo. I was behind and I must recover on the downhill to close the gap to the front small group of riders and try my chance to take the win”
“I knew that it was difficult to win, because there were very fast riders and today’s stage was really demanding due to high temperature too” added Nibali, who now wears the green jersey of leader of the points classification.
Froome now leads overall by 2″ from De la Cruz with Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) in third place. The riders face a 198.2-kilometre stage tomorrow from Escaldes-Engordany to Tarragona with just one third-category climb en route.