Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) displayed his punchy abilities to win stage 3 of La Vuelta 2020 atop the climb to La Laguna Negra-Vinuesa. The Irishman accelerated inside the last 200m to take victory ahead of the overall leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and one of his main rivals Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers). Dan Martin claims his second stage win on the roads of La Vuelta, 9 years after his victory in Sierra de Béjar-La Covatilla, and his first victory since stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France. He only trails by 4’’ on GC.
A pack of 170 riders start from Lodosa without Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-McLaren), due to a broken scapula, and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), still struggling with back pains from his Tour de France crash. Five riders attack from the gun: Mark Donovan (Sunweb), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie), Aritz Bagües (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Willie Smit (Burgos-BH).
Primoz Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma control the gap around 4’ until the first climb of the day, the cat-3 Puerto de Oncala. EF Pro Cycling drove the bunch in the climb, summited first by Tosh Van der Sande (with 87.1km to go) with a gap down to 2’40’’. Astana and Movistar maintain pressure over the top and the early attackers are caught after 110km at the front.
A new break
The bunch keeps riding at a hard pace as the leaders are wary of the weather conditions but a new group of attackers manage to get away with 48km to go. Valentin Ferron, Paul Ourselin (Total Direct Energie), Hector Saez (Caja Rural) and Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) open a 1’35’’ gap as the race enters the last 40km.
EF riders get back to the front of the bunch to control the gap. The pace keeps increasing as the leaders try to position themselves ahead of the 8.6km final climb to La Laguna Negra (average gradient: 5.8%). The attackers are eventually caught with 7.5km to go. At the same moment, stage 2’s winner Marc Soler (Movistar) has to change his bike.
All in on the steepest ramps
Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) also suffers a mechanical with 5km to go, as Chris Froome ups the ante for Ineos-Grenadiers. Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) is the first attacker to try to break the Ineos lock with 2.5km to go. He is caught by Ivan Sosa’s pace. Clément Champoussin (AG2R-La Mondiale) tries his luck just before the last kilometre, unsuccessfully.
The elite group of climbers eventually battles it out for victory on the steepest ramps of the climb, up to 15%. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) makes his move inside the last 200m and only Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz manage to follow him while the rest of the GC contenders drop a few more seconds after three explosive stages.