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Vuelta a Espana 2018: Elia Viviani wins Stage 3 sprint

Jack Elton-Walters
27 Aug 2018

Elia Viviani proved his favourite status by taking the bunch spint

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) won Stage 3 of the 2018 Vuelta a Espana from a sprint finish on one of the few days for the quick men. Behind the bunch kick, Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) finished with the main group to retain the overall lead.

Stage 3's fast finish

Stage 3 was a fairly relaxed day at the 2018 Vuelta a Espana after a tough stage the day before and an expectation of a hard ride the following day.

At 182.5km the stage wasn't a mammoth day out but with plenty of lumps to get over before the flat finish it will have had an impact on legs of the peloton.

The day's break consisted of Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale), Pierre Rolland (EF-Drapac), Jordi Simon (Burgos-BH), Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias), and their advantage went out over four minutes.

Mate's presence was all about mountains points and he was out collecting as many as possible to increase his early lead in that competition.

Rolland was the first to call it a day after a puncture, and with a new wheel he slowed up and rejoined the main peloton.

The break was later joined by Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal), Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal) and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) who launched a later counter-attack, perhaps unhappy with the relatively sedate pace of the stage up to that point.

The advantage hovered around 40-50 seconds as a relaxed peloton seemed contended with the way things were playing out.

With 30km to run until the finish line the race vehicles were removed from the gap, an indication to the breakaway that their day was almost done.

Peters was pedalling squares and going backwards as Simon pushed on solo away from the remainder of the breakaway. Simon crested a small climb alone and let loose on the descent; the winding road allowing him to get out of sight of his chasers.

Campenaerts slid out on a fast, narrow corner and saw his breakaway mates ride away. The loss of his legs and enthusiasm reduced the fire power of the remaining breakaway riders but the catch was now imminent.

Postlberger went alone and pushed on, clearly believing he could go it alone all the way to the line but the peloton came past with 6.6km to go.

Movistar and Team Sky took up the pace, with Quick-Step Floors not far behind as the race entered the final 3km.