Volta a la Valenciana #3: Technical finale makes for difficult sprint

Serge Ben Valencia Stage 3 Stiehl

Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) won stage 3 of the Volta a la Valenciana from a mass sprint finish. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was 2nd and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) was the rider in 3rd place.

The 3rd stage of the Volta a la Valenciana looked like, on paper, a good stage for the sprinters. It was no surprise then that as soon as 6 riders jumped away from the peloton, Cofidis and Direct Energie sent troops to the head of the peloton, to help BMC Racing with the pace setting. Not leaving anything to chance in the blustery conditions, the gap was kept at under 4-minutes.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had a good option for the finale in Kristian Sbaragli and so our African Team rode in support of the Italian today. As expected, the break didn’t stand much of a chance, the last of the escapees was caught with 13km to go. The sprint trains then began to organise their leadouts before the technical final in Riba-Roja de Turia.

Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) and our King of the Mountains leader, Johann van Zyl tried to disrupt the rhythm of the sprint favourites with a late attack at 8km to go. The move was closed down quickly though and the peloton was all together heading into town. Van Zyl who held onto the lead in the KOM competition today, had also done well to ensure Sbaragli was well placed for the final 3km.

The city streets made the final quite precarious with a number of 90 degree corners. Sbaragli had the wheel of race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) heading under the 1km to go kite but after a crash in the bunch and 2 more 90 degree right hand corners the Italian had lost position, and was not able to contest for a top position. Sbaragli was 19th and Merhawi Kudus crossed the line in 21st, our 2 best placed riders on the day.

Bingen Fernandez – Sport Director

It was a windy day in the office. It was suppose to be one of the easier stages of the week but the wind came to the race and with it, it brought stress into the peloton.  After few attempts to break the peloton in the crosswinds a big bunch made it to the finish. A stressful day as a whole but it still ended with the same expected result.