How the race finished
Marianne Vos (Jumbo Visma) stormed to a stage victory while wearing the leader’s jersey, after the stage was blown to pieces in cross winds. In a reshuffle of yesterday’s cards, Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) and Chloé Dygert (Canyon//Sram Racing) completed the podium.
Full results are available below.
How it happened
Setting off from Elche de la Sierra, the women’s peloton covered 158km on the longest stage of the race. The flat profile meant many expected a bunch sprint, but the open roads and brisk cross winds were set to make things interesting.
After 30km of racing, despite a number of attempts, there was no breakaway. Kerry Jonker (Coop-Hitec) had a punch off the front, and was joined by Sara Poidevin (EF Education-Tibco-SVB), Katia Ragusa (Liv Racing-TeqFind), Isabel Martín (Eneicat-CM Team), Giorgia Vettorello (Bepink) and Susana Pérez (Cantabria Deporte) – but the group were not allowed to stay clear. A few more attacks went up the road, but nothing stuck.
Around 70km into the race, the peloton turned right out of Pozohondo, and into strong crosswinds. Movistar hit the front, putting it in the gutter. Under their pressure the peloton was soon strung out and then split into three distinctive groups. In the chaos it took some time to know who was there, but it soon became clear that Gaia Realini, one of the GC hopes for Trek-Segafredo, had been dropped from the front group. Kristen Faulkner (Team Jayco-AlUla) was also spotted in the second group, alongside Femke Markus, who SD Worx had nominated as their sprinter for the day.
When Amanda Spratt punctured out of the front group, Trek-Segafredo dropped their whole team back to try to bring Realini and Spratt back to the front. With the help of Team Jayco-AlUla also pulling in the second group, they were able to stabilise the gap fairly quickly, but they struggled to make headway in their return.
As the race moved through a small town everything settled briefly, but when they returned to the open roads, DSM hit the front. Under their pressure, the gap to the chasing bunches extended, and this time the front group split again. Among those caught out were Silvia Persico and Mavi Garcia. Together with seven others, they managed to bridge their way back to the front.
Coming into the small town of Barrax, the front group found some extra pace for the intermediate sprint. Marianne Vos (Jumbo Visma) was first across the line, picking up maximum bonus seconds ahead of teammate Riejanne Markus, with Liane Lippert (Movistar) crossing the line in third. Chloé Dygert launched her sprint from a long way back, and had to settle for fourth and no bonus time.
Immediately after the sprint they turned north, and once again the wind was at play. The front group put it hard in the gutter, and the group started to splinter. A number of the riders that had just bridged back across found themselves in trouble, including Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ) and Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon//Sram Racing). Behind them, the second group had come close, bringing the gap down to 20 seconds. But as the pace only increased at the front, they seemed to run out of impetus, and give up a little.
In the final kilometres DSM held the pace on the front, hoping to thwart any early attacks and ensure another sprint opportunity for yesterday’s winner, Charlotte Kool. Once they ran out of riders Movistar ad Canyon//Sram Racing took it up on the front. Jumbo Visma, who had been neatly tucked into the wheels hit the front as they came through the final roundabout, and then it was Kasia Niewiadoma who was the final leadout rider for Canyon//Sram. With the wind behind them, Charlotte Kool and Marianne Vos launched early, tearing up the tarmac side by side. Dygert swung wide to find space to open her sprint, but it wasn’t quite enough. In a reversal of yesterday’s results, Vos took the win ahead of Kool.
After an incredibly fast race, with an average speed of over 45km/hr, there were some meaningful changes in the General Classification. Trek-Segafredo will have some recalibrating to do, after bringing their leaders home over two and a half minutes down, as will UAE Team ADQ, EF-Education Tibco-SVB, Israel Premier-Tech and Jayco-AlUla. Jumbo Visma are still in a commanding position, with all eyes on Canyon//Sram’s Chloé Dygert as she tries to find a way to get the red jersey on her shoulders. GC favourites Demi Vollering (SD Worx) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) came in safely in the front bunch.
Full Stage Three Results
Results powered by FirstCycling.com