La Vuelta a Espana #3: Ryan Gibbons sprints to 9th

The 3rd stage of La Vuelta a Espana came down to a bunch sprint and it was Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) who finished the fastest, to take the victory. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was second followed across the line by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Stage 3 was another coastal town start as the peloton left Mijas and made it’s way to Alhaurin de la Torre on a roundabout loop. The riders were greeted with blazing sunshine once again and the heat offered no respite over the 178.2km course. While considered a sprinters stage, today’s race included the first category 1 climb of the race, up Puerto del Madrono.

The peloton were happy to let a break of five riders make their escape before the climb, which stretched 20.1km at 4.9% gradient. The peloton, led by Quickstep-Floors, kept a close eye on the break, ensuring they were brought back with 6km to go.

The final kilometers saw the sprint trains of Quickstep, LottoNL-Jumbo and Bora-Hansgrohe start to line-up, with the stage favourite, Vivani being the prized wheel to fight for. The Italian champion stamped his authority on the sprinters race as has done for much of the season already, finishing ahead of Nizzolo and Sagan.

Team Dimension Data were in the mix, with Ryan Gibbons grabbing 9th spot for our African team. Gibbons was one of the many riders jostling for Viviani’s wheel but lost a few places when a EF-Education First rider switched across the road in the final roundabout. Our South African made good ground in the final 200m though to secure our first top-10 placing of the race.

Ryan Gibbons – Rider
Today was actually hard with over 3000m of climbing. The break went quite early so it was controlled but with the heat and wind also made it a tough day out. The final was pretty treacherous, with 20km to go there were a few climbs and after that it was really fast to the finale. It was strung out in one line and with just one team leading it and no control behind. Coming into the home stretch it was pretty messy, the only proper leadout here is Quickstep, so everyone else is just fighting for wheels. 500m to go a few guys came up my inside and chopped me, so I lost my momentum but sprinted to salvage what I could. I rolled in 9th which were not too happy about but the form is good and I’m feeling good.