The third stage of the Vuelta a Espana featured more hot temperatures (38 C, 100 F) from the coastal city of Marbella and ended 157.3 kilometers (97.7 miles) later encircling Malaga. The route included two climbs, a Category 1 and 2, and a 1.8 km climb to the finish line at the Castillo de Gibralfaro.
The Dish struggled on the first early Category 2 climb up Puerto de Ojen and continued to struggle all day, eventually finishing over 25 minutes behind and losing the camiseta roja.
A breakaway of seven men held a good lead of nine minutes at one point, but broke up during the Category 1 climb up Puerto de Leon.
Spaniard Serafin Martinez of team Xacobeo Galicia broke away from the lead group at 112 km and held the lead until he got swallowed up 1 km from the finish.
Belgian Philippe Gilbert of Omega Pharma-Lotto finished first just ahead of Spanish riders Joaquin Rodriquez and Igor Anton. Gilbert celebrated his stage win with the customary champagne spray at the podium.
Saxo Bank’s Frank Schleck – a GC favorite – finished 13th today, 19 seconds behind Gilbert. The Tour de Suisse winner is now in a favorable place of 9th overall and 36 seconds back.
Tuesday’s stage will be 183.8 km (114.2 m) from Malaga to Valdepenas de Jaen
– Gilbert couldn’t abandon the precedent set the day before when stage winner Hutarovich sprayed the podium champagne all over the place.
– Members of Team Sky came down with a mystery illness that forced two riders to abandon – John Lee Augustyn and Ben Swift. Similar things like this have happened before and once it was related to the protein injections a certain team got who subsequently also got ill and no one knew why.
Stage 3 standings:
1) GILBERT, Philippe – Omega Pharma-Lotto: 4:06:12
2) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 3″
3) ANTON, Igor – Euskaltel-Euskadi: + 13″
4) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas-Doimo: + 15″
5) BOLE, Grega – Lampre: + 15″
1) GILBERT, Philippe – Omega Pharma-Lotto: 8:55:56
2) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 14″
3) SIVTSOV, Kanstantsin – HTC-Columbia: + 22″
4) VAN GARDEREN, Tejay – HTC-Columbia: + 26″
5) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas-Doimo: + 28″