Remco Evenepoel wins, crashes and takes the lead in La Vuelta a España
Only the third stage and first contact with the mountains with the arrival of the race at the resort of Pal-Arinsal in Andorra. A day in which more than half of the peloton arrived home and in which the weather gave a truce to the race after the two previous dreadful days. A finish that was decided by the sprint of the group of favorites and in which Remco Evenepoel won with ease.
Remco Evenepoel is already leader of La Vuelta a España 2023
The atypical start of La Vuelta a España 2023 offered us in this third stage the first high finish with a peloton that headed towards Andorra in a 158 km route between Súria and Arinsal, with a quite demanding final part in which the Ordino passes and the final climb to the aforementioned ski resort were chained.
A lively start to the stage, with a multitude of riders trying to find the breakaway despite the strong headwind that accompanied the peloton almost throughout the day. Finally, after almost an hour of attacks and counterattacks, 11 riders joined in the lead, with names like Pierre Latour, Eduardo Sepúlveda, Damiano Caruso or Lennard Kamna as top contenders to fight for the stage and whose presence gave good proof of the level of the breakaway.
The stage entered a waiting phase, with Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep leading the race very fast and keeping the breakaway's advantage contained. The stage reached Andorra with an uncomfortable terrain, always climbing up the road that crosses this country from end to end towards the port of Envalira.
In the town of Canillo started the ascent to Ordino where the tense calm continues while the breakaway was gradually fragmenting, with Caruso, Sepúlveda and Kamna in the lead, who managed to crown with just 1 minute of advantage. In the peloton, only some timid movement by Jai Vine for UAE Team Emirates and Romain Bardet, trying to make good the advantage gained in the team time trial a couple of days ago.
However, the peloton regrouped and a gap was created that gave air to the escapees, who for a few moments surely dreamed of finishing the stage.
After the start from La Massana, they arrived at the crossroads where the road separates between the road leading to the sector of Pal and the climb to Arinsal that faced the race today, the point where the collaboration ends with a Lennard Kamna who made his move. Caruso followed him a few dozen meters behind and Sepulveda finally gave up.
It was not until the passage through the town of Arinsal when UAE Team Emirates decided to move the tree, putting Jai Vine to work. A pace that annulled the advantage of the escapees in just one kilometer. Just when he gave up, Marc Soler took over, who finished catching Caruso, at which point Juan Ayuso started, closely marked by Jonas Vingegaard who caught the wheel without difficulty, with Kuss and Roglic also easy while Enric Mas also arrived but at his own pace, according to his condition of diesel cyclist.
Sep Kuss tried to attack, Marc Soler was in the hunt for him, and they managed to catch Kamna, almost at the same time they were caught. Marc would try again with the last kilometer in sight but unsuccessfully, which left us before the last few hundred meters in which the victory would be disputed in a sprint between the group of favorites. A fight where the top favorite is always Primoz Roglic.
However, the Slovenian didn't have his usual spark today and could do nothing against Remco Evenepoel's huge breakaway 200 m from the finish. Jonas Vingegaard tried to dry him out, but just when he reached his wheel, at the exit of the last corner, the Belgian still had another change of pace with which he even managed to gain a second, which, added to the bonus for the win, put him in the lead.
The anecdote of the finish was that, in full celebration and with the speed at which he launched the bike, Remco ran out of room to stop in the meager finish area and ended up stopping against an auxiliary, suffering a spectacular crash that resulted in a no less spectacular cut in the eyebrow that left his whole face bloodied.
Now come a couple of days that should be quiet for the favorites before the next appointment with the mountain, next Thursday 31 on the way to the observatory of Javalambre.
Stage 3 Classification
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) 4h15’39’’
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +1’’
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +1’’
- Prizo Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1’’
- Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +1’’
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +1’’
- Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) +1’’
- Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +1’’
- Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1’’
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) 8h43’11’’
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +05’’
- Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) +11’’
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +31’’
- Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +33’’
- Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +33’’
- Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich) +35’’
- Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) +35’’
- Wilco Kelderman (Jumbo-Visma) +37’’
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +37’’