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Itzulia Basque Country. Stage 3. Astana leads the bunch, Bilbao is 9th in sprint

Stage 3 of the Itzulia Basque Country has been held today between Bermeo and Gaubea Valdegovia with a total distance of 184,8 km. The stage was characterized by the changeable weather with sun, rain and wind changing each other. Astana Team did a very strong race, pulling in front of the peloton during almost 80 km, trying to catch the break and protecting its leader Pello Bilbao.

Finally, despite the long-day break and several attacks in the final part of the distance, the stage ended with a massive sprint, won by the Australian Jay McCarthy, who outsprinted Alexandr Riabushenko and Michal Kwiatkowski. Pello Bilbao finished 9th.

- There are no easy stages in this race, every day you have to do it for 100%. The team was super strong today, and the guys did a fantastic job during the whole day. I felt quite good, tried to hold full concentration and in the same time not to spend too much energy. In the final I did my best in sprint, I felt like I had legs for something more, but it was not easy to find a way to sprint. So, a place it Top-10 as result, not bad, but now all my thoughts are about tomorrow’s ITT. I can’t say that I did too many TT in big races in my career, but I worked a lot on my time trial and I hope I can do a good race tomorrow, - said Pello Bilbao.

A group of 8 riders went away at the first part of the distance. Actually, there were two riders, who attacked in the beginning, followed later by six more riders. Finally, the second group bridged across the leaders, creating the daily breakaway. Astana Team took a responsibility in the race, moving in front to lead the bunch and working hard during a long time. It was Dario Cataldo, who did enormous work in front of the peloton.

Inside the local circuit Omar Fraile launched an attack on the climb, followed by Michal Kwiatkowski and David De La Cruz. Later, Kwiatkowski and De La Cruz have joined the leading break, but finally, the peloton caught everyone at the last kilometers to play the stage in sprint.

After three stages Julian Alaphilippe still hold the yellow jersey of the GC leader, while Pello Bilbao is still 5th, 54 seconds behind him.

A flat individual time trial of 19,4 km in Lodosa will be held tomorrow as stage 4 of the Itzulia Basque Country.

Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto

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