Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) has taken the win in today’s third stage of the Vuelta a San Juan Internacional (2.1), a 14.4-kilometre time-trial.
The Irish time-trial and road race champion beat Filippo Ganna (UAE-Team Emirates) by 25″ in the flat test in San Juan with Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) in third place at 30″. It marked Mullen’s first victory for his new team.
Among the early occupants of the hot seat were Daniel Eaton (United Healthcare) and Iljo Keisse (Quick Step Floors) before Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) took over, beating Keisse’s time by 19″.
All riders used road bikes for the test due to logistics reasons, but Mullen was amongst those to use a rear disc wheel. In addition, his mechanic had also turned his brake levers inwards towards his stem, helping him to adopt a more aerodynamic position.
Mullen was clearly on a good day from early on, as he caught his minute man Ignacio Maldonado (Uruguay) within a few kilometres and after the checkpoint at seven kilometres, he was ahead of Wallays by 22″. Not long after, he caught his two minute man Nicolas Cabrera (Chile).
He continued his strong ride, finishing in a time of 17’42”, a full 1 minute and eight seconds clear of Wallays. Going into the stage, Mullen sat in 107th place on GC so he would have a long wait before he would know whether he had won.
His fastest time at the 7-kilometre checkpoint was eventually beaten by Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors). However, the Frenchman slowed in the second half and finished 44″ behind Mullen. Others were also within touching distance at the intermediate checkpoint including Jarlinson Pantano, but they also faded in the second half.
Filippo Ganna would also beat Mullen’s time at the checkpoint and it looked like the former World Pursuit Champion could set the best time, but once again fell short.
Last rider off was race leader Roman Villalobos (Canels Specialized) and as the Costa Rican rider entered the finishing straight, he was already outside Mullen’s finishing time ensuring the win for the Irishman.
The race continues tomorrow with a 182.8-kilometre stage from San José Jachal to Villa San Agustín with three categorised climbs en route.
Result Stage 3 Vuelta a San Juan Internacional
1 Ryan Mullen (Trek – Segafredo) 17:43
2 Filippo Ganna (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:25
3 Rafał Majka (BORA – hansgrohe) 0:30
4 Gregory Daniel (Trek – Segafredo) 0:30
5 Oscar Sevilla (Medellin – Inder) 0:36