Race report

Breakaway takes stage win atop Picón Blanco

Vuelta a España

After a time trial and a sprint stage, the climbers would have their chance on day three of the Vuelta a España with a 202 kilometre long route from Santo Domingo de Silos to the summit finish of Picón Blanco. Arriving at the start line with good memories from the recent Vuelta a Burgos, where Romain Bardet took the stage win after cresting the very same climb, the team knew it was set to be a tough finish – as did the rest of the peloton.

It was a fast start to the day with multiple attacks, before the elastic eventually snapped and a strong eight rider group got clear after 12 kilometres of action, quickly building up their advantage. The gap held steady at around six minutes for a while but as the race entered the last 80 kilometres, the peloton eased off and those ahead increased their lead to over eight minutes. With a stalemate in the bunch, the gap stayed the same as they reached the 40 kilometres to go point and it was clear the break would fight for the stage win.

Back in the peloton the pace increased as the fight for position intensified, with the team doing a good job of moving forward as a unit and staying out of trouble. On the lower foot slopes of the ascent the team were there in numbers with Romain Bardet, Chris Hamilton, Michael Storer and Martijn Tusveld riding towards the head of the bunch. It was a race of attrition as the gradient began to bite and the kilometres ticked down, with the group riding into a tricky headwind. Despite some probing attacks from the group, the reduced peloton was together heading under the flamme rouge where the pace was increased one last time. Fighting all the way to the finish, Storer and Bardet crossed the line together around 20 seconds behind the front of what was left of the very reduced peloton.

“Today the focus was on bringing Romain into the last ascent because we knew that it was going to be the first battle between the climbers,” expressed Michael Storer after the stage. “There was also the possibility the break would make it and we had an eye on that, but in the end we didn’t have anyone in it. Being in a group of eight guys into a headwind for 200 odd kilometres is a big investment. We came into the last climb really well as a team and from there it was just about going as hard as we could to the top.” 


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 TAARAMÄE Rein Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux 5:16:57 100
2 DOMBROWSKI Joe UAE-Team Emirates 0:21 40
3 ELISSONDE Kenny Trek - Segafredo 0:36 20
23 STORER Michael Team DSM 2:17 -
24 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
46 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 3:23 -
72 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 6:26 -
104 HAGA Chad Team DSM 12:51 -
105 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
169 DENZ Nico Team DSM 21:53 -
172 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -