After the breakaway was caught, the expected bunch sprint was set up. The
BORA – hansgrohe team started to form their lead-out for Jay McCarthy. In a hectic finale, the Australian rider took the stage win confidently, his second WorldTour victory for this still early season.
Today´s third stage took the peloton from Bermeo to Valdegovia over 185km undulating course. Two third category climbs awaited the riders directly after the start. The third categorised climb, Barrerilla, (6,5km, 5,6%) was after 90km of racing. Before the riders crossed the finish line, they had to manage a difficult descent on really narrow roads, the whole stage covered an elevation of more than 2.800m. It could be a stage for the sprinters due to the tricky, slightly uphill finish.
The Team Tactics
As in the previous days, the German team focused on their two GC contenders Patrick Konrad and Emanuel Buchmann. But today´s stage was also a stage for their Australian rider Jay McCarthy. Therefore, the team made a double strategy, going for a stage win with Jay and trying to keep the GC spot before tomorrow´s ITTT.
After 15km of racing, two riders led the race, another group tried to bridge across and the peloton was already 1:15 behind. The chasers were able to close the gap, the new eight-man breakaway had an advantage of more than six minutes over the peloton after 55km of racing. 94km before the finish, the lead for the eight escapees were around five minutes but with the gap dropping steadily. With two guys at the front, Felix Großschartner and Cesare Benedetti pulled hard to close the gap. With 3km remaining, it was all back together and the excepted bunch sprint was set up. Gregor Mühlberger worked hard to bring his teammate, Jay McCarthy, in a good position. In the final metres, Jay McCarthy increased the pace and took the stage win, his second WorldTour Victory in this early season.
From the Finish Line
“The team did a stellar job today and worked the whole day really hard to support our GC leaders and help me in the finale, if it all came back together. Felix and Cece rode super strong to control the race in the last 30km, then Gregor came in the last 5 kilometres to the front and did a great lead-out for me. I started the sprint early and gave it all. I am really happy with this victory and want to thank my teammates for their support.” – Jay McCarthy
“Due to our good position in the general classification, we focused on today´s technical and tricky finale. As the race headed into the finale, Cece and Felix worked really hard and tried to bridge across the leaders at the front. After that, Gregor did a great lead-out for Jay. I am really proud of the whole team, they showed a great team spirit and strong performance. I think we made a good work keeping the GC with Patrick and going for the stage win. In the sprint Jay showed his shape and took an impressive win.” – Christian Pömer, sports director