The 3rd stage of Itzulia Basque Country ended in a reduced group sprint and it was the Australian, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) who took the victory. Alexandr Riabushenko (UAE Emirates) finished in 2nd and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) took the final spot on the stage podium.
It was another fast start to racing in the Basque Country with a number of early attacks during today’s 3rd stage. Initially only 2 riders got away but then a group of 6 riders rode across the gap, including our American, Ben King.
The 8 upfront worked well together and put the pressure on the peloton by riding to a 6-minute lead. With 40km to go, the peloton had brought the gap down to just under 2-minutes, and 4 riders then dropped from the breakaway as the attackers tried to keep their advantage by pushing the pace further. King was still riding strong as one of the 4 up front until 20km to go, where he too then felt the effects of a tough day and dropped back to the main bunch.
The writing was then on the wall for the breakaway and despite Team Sky jumping across the gap with 2 riders in the final 15km, it all came back together for a reduced group sprint. Our young Eritrean, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier did his best to mix it up in the final but the more experienced punchy sprinters were not going to miss out on their opportunity, with McCarthy taking the win.
Ben King – Rider
We wanted to be present in any larger breakaways today. The hope was that teams wouldn’t want to spend too much energy to catch a really strong break. We had a terrible headwind so it ended up costing us a massive amount of energy. In the end we didn’t make it but everyone in the break was fully committed to giving ourselves a chance. This is arguably the hardest week long stage race in the world so I was happy to be part of the action on a day like today.