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Vuelta a Burgos. Stage 3. Nikita Stalnov shows good legs in breakaway

The first of two mountains stages of the Vuelta a Burgos has been held today: the peloton passed 150 km from Sargentes to the top of the special category climb Picón Blanco, where Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez won in 2018. 

This time another Astana Pro Team rider Nikita Stalnov showed himself really well, spending almost all day in the breakaway.

- At team’s meeting it was decided that I have to try to go in daily breakaway, so immediately from the start I was up there in front of the peloton looking for a chance to jump away. When a few riders attacked, I immediately followed them. We were lucky to break away quite quickly and without big problems. It was a hot day, but I felt good most part of the stage. We have spent a productive training camp in Sierra Nevada, where the weather was really hot, so I had time to adjust to the heat. I am happy with the stage, it was a good day in the breakaway for me. I was happy to have Alexandr Vinokurov and Giuseppe Martinelli in the car behind me, they led me through the race perfectly and I want to thank them for that. I knew the final climb, it is a tough one. I did all I could, but with 3 km to go my legs were empty. However, it was an important test for me after all these months of lockdown. I hope to keep on progressing during the next days and weeks, - said Nikita Stalnov.

A group of riders with Nikita Stalnov among the attackers went away shortly after the start, opening a solid gap of 10 minutes. Finally, the break could stay away until the last three kilometers of racing, when the GC contenders caught the last survivors. 

Before the peloton hit the final climb, a strong cross wind created echelons, which impacted the stage a lot. Unfortunately, Astana’s leader for this race Oscar Rodriguez remained behind and the Kazakh team had to organize a strong but exhausting chase to bring Rodriguez back in front.

- We had to spend too much energy before the final climb. After the peloton split in parts, we still had Alex Aranburu in the leading group, while Oscar Rodriguez remained behind and we had to chase hardly to bring him back. But, later we had to pay for those efforts. Finally, the day did not turn out as we planned, however, I think our riders still climbed well. Rodrigo Contreras made a nice attack with 5 km to go, while our young Kazakh rider Yuriy Natarov impressed us a lot, finishing among the leaders of the race. So, we still have one more mountain stage and we are going to try something again, - said Stefano Zanini, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

The Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel won today’s stage after a solo attack with 2 km to go, becoming the new leader of the race. After this stage Oscar Rodriguez is 13th in the overall standings, +2.29 behind the leader. 

Stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos will be held tomorrow: it will be a 163-km-long stage from Gumiel de Izán to Roa de Duero.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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