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2010 Vuelta a España News and Updates: Stage 3

| by Sports Nickel
Stage 3 – Marbella to Málaga – 157.3 km (97.5 mi)

Monday/30 August 2010


It was bound to be a day when Mark Cavendish finally lost his hold of the red jersey as race leader, with first- and second-category climbs spiking up out of the route as well as a punishing last two kilometers that ramp up to pitches well into the double digits in grade. Cavendish, a pure sprinter, would have been fine without the finishing ramp added into the finale. Instead it would be another man gracing the podium on the day, the Manxman enjoying his two days in the sun and now left to try to regain his points jersey.

By the end of this stage, one man would assert his dominance on this particular chunk of roadway. Philippe Gilbert, the Belgian classics specialist who has conquered the Het Volk twice and the 2009 Giro di Lombardia and this spring’s Amstel Gold Race along terrain similar to Stage 3, basically conquered everything in his path, ascending the podium thrice on the day. The first, as you might already have gathered, was to slip on the fashionable new red jersey doled out to the race leader this year. Unable to stay in contact with Gilbert and the other hard men of the peloton, Cavendish finished 25 minutes in arrears alongside Yauheni Hutarovich — who would end up handing over the points jersey to Gilbert as well, giving him two of the three main classifications.

The third of the three ascents was his ultimate seal of dominance, as Gilbert outkicked Joaquin Rodriguez, Igor Anton, Vincenzo Nibali and the dwindling front group in his wake to take the stage victory as well as the jerseys and the accolades. How did it all come to this point? How did Gilbert win his first Vuelta stage, wear his first grand-tour leader’s jersey, and take the points lead all in one brilliant masterstroke? The real question is: How did we not see it coming on this stage? (Congrats to those who predicted this move…)

The fact is, Gilbert’s season has been drawing up to a successful conclusion. He swept Paris-Tours and the Giro di Lombardia last fall, taking both classics in dominant fashion to head into what passes for an offseason these days with some momentum. He hit the ground running in 2010, earning a top-ten finish behind winner Oscar Freire in San Remo to kick off the season. Top-three finishes in both the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and Gent-Wevelgem presaged his first spring classics victory of his career in the Amstel Gold Race. He reached the podium again at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and has bided his time throughout the summer. A stage win in the Tour of Belgium finished his spring season and he got his offseason while his brethren raced the Tour de France.

Recharged and relaxed heading into the fall, Gilbert seized his opportunity in the run to Málaga. An early breakaway of seven riders formed fairly quickly once riders passed through the neutral zone and hit the race start proper. Biel Kadri (AG2R), Javier Ramirez (Andalucia-Cajasur), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Michael Cherel (FDJ), Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Niki Terpstra (Milram) and Serafin Martinez (Xacobeo Galicia) composed the lead group, which crested the 2nd-category Puerto de Ojén and proceeded to build up a gap in excess of eight minutes. But their advantage would be short-lived, as the peloton slowly reeled in the riders for the strike on the 1st-category Puerto del Leon. With nearly a hundred kilometers separating the first summit from the base of the day’s second categorized climb, the breakaway was ultimately doomed.

Gilbert was part of the marauding bands that swept up the break mercilessly, piling on over the Puerto del Leon and charging back into Málaga for the finale. The sprint-minded of the bunch bulled their way toward the front as the final ramp approached, but few were able to hang on the steep pitch at the finish. Gilbert climbed along with ease, Joaquin Rodriguez the only man to stay near his wheel through the line. But even then the Belgian kicked a little harder at the finish, opening up that three-second gap that might just prove precious in holding his lead for another day in the general classification.

Will Gilbert win the Vuelta? Hardly… he is a rider wholly unsuited for the true steep climbs to come later in the race, and will lose time there and in the time trials to the true all-around experts of the sport. But he’s already won a stage, another isn’t out of the question and he has even more momentum to take with him into the fall. After all, there’s still a world championship to try to earn (Gilbert was sixth last year in Mendrisio, Switzerland, the best-placed Belgian in the field) and the defense of both his Paris-Tours and Giro di Lombardia titles. The future is bright indeed for this man of 28 who just keeps getting better and better as he gains more experience…


1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 4:06:12  
2 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:03  
3 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:13  
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:15  
5 Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
6 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R-La Mondiale    
7 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:00:18  
8 Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 0:00:19  
9 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne    
10 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ    


1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 8:55:56  
2 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:14  
3 Kanstantin Sivtsov (Blr) Team HTC-Columbia 0:00:22  
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Team HTC-Columbia 0:00:26  
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:28  
6 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia    
7 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:35  
8 Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team    
9 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:36  
10 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervélo Test Team 0:00:41


1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 25 pts
2 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ 25  
3 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 20  
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC-Columbia 20  
5 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 16  
6 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 16  
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 14  
8 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 14  
9 Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini 12  
10 Manuel Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto 12  


1 Serafin Martinez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia 13 pts
2 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le crédit en ligne 6  
3 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram 5  
4 Egoï Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5  
5 Mickael Delage (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 3  
6 Mikael Cherel (Fra) FDJ 2  
7 Javier Ramirez (Spa) Andalucia-Cajasur 2  
8 Blel Kadri (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale 1  
9 Johnnie Walker (Aus) Footon-Servetto 1  


1 Team HTC – Columbia 26:20:52  
2 Team Katusha 0:00:05  
3 Omega Pharma – Lotto 0:00:08  
4 Caisse d’Epargne 0:00:15  
5 Liquigas – Doimo 0:00:18  
6 Cervelo Test Team 0:00:20  
7 Lampre – Farese Vini 0:00:32  
8 Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:01:33  
9 Rabobank 0:01:41  
10 Astana 0:01:42  

2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 3 News and Notes is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust

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