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Matthews wins La Vuelta uphill sprint

It was a mess of sprinters, climber and puncheurs who scrambled up the road in Arcos in a thrilling finale of stage 3. In the end the favorite Michael Matthews timed his effort to perfection, passing Dan Martin just before the line to win his first stage of this Vuelta. In doing so he also secured his second Grand Tour leader's jersey of the year.


The early break of the day went out with the ambition to chase the KOM points in the mountainous middle part of the stage and in the end it was Caja Rural's Lluis Más Bonet who just barely managed to take enough points to take the climbers jersey. After accomplishing his mission he let himself fall back and the race was all together for the final 30 kms.

With a challenging finish well suited to Matthews, Orica Greenedge took command of the peloton early in the stage from Movistar to ensure that the breakaway didn't run away with the stage win. In the end it was well spent time and effort as Matthews was every bit as strong as speculated. These types of not-too-steep but still uphill finishes have become something of his trademark at this point. Now, just as in the Giro they have placed him in the race lead and turned this into an already successful Vuelta for Orica. The climb was also fiercely contested enough to create some small gaps among the GC riders behind.

The charge toward Arcos was one big battle for positoin among the the GC teams and the teams gunning for the stage. Once the peloton entered the town and started the uphill dash it was Katusha who seized control at the front and led the riders up at a furious pace. Within the last kilometer Giampaolo Caruso even pushed the pace to the point were he rode everyone else off his wheel and got what looked like a dangerous gap. Timing is everything on these types of hills though and it was Dan Martin of Garmin-Sharp who went at just the right time to chase Caruso down and pass him. Unfortunately for the Irishman one man had managed to lock himself on his wheel and that was Matthews. Fully in control he sailed past a disappointed Martin in the last turn coming up on the line. Joaquim Rodriguez finished just behind in third, probably wishing the road had tilted just a few more percent in his favor.

Top 10 Stage 3
1. AUSMATTHEWS, Michael 186 Orica GreenEdge 5h 12' 14''
2. IRLMARTIN, Daniel 102 Garmin Sharp 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
3. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 131 Team Katusha 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
4. NEDKELDERMAN, Wilco 31 Belkin Pro Cycling Team 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
5. GERMARTENS, Paul 36 Belkin Pro Cycling Team 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
6. AUSEVANS, Cadel 43 BMC Racing Team 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
7. FRAMONDORY, Lloyd 17 AG2R La Mondiale 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
8. FRABOUHANNI, Nacer 91 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
9. ESPMORENO, Daniel 137 Team Katusha 5h 12' 14'' + 0''
10. GBRFROOME, Christopher 191 Team SKY 5h 12' 14'' + 0''

Top 10 General Classification
1. AUSMATTHEWS, Michael 186 Orica GreenEdge 9h 27' 53''
2. COLQUINTANA, Nairo Alexander 159 Movistar Team 9h 27' 57'' + 4''
3. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 151 Movistar Team 9h 28' 04'' + 11''
4. COLURAN, Rigoberto 177 Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 9h 28' 08'' + 15''
5. ITACARUSO, Damiano 65 Cannondale Pro Cycling 9h 28' 10'' + 17''
6. COLCHAVES RUBIO, Esteban 182 Orica GreenEdge 9h 28' 10'' + 17''
7. NZLBENNETT, George 62 Cannondale Pro Cycling 9h 28' 13'' + 20''
8. COLARREDONDO MORENO, Julian David 212 Trek Factory Racing 9h 28' 13'' + 20''
9. ESPZUBELDIA, Haimar 219 Trek Factory Racing 9h 28' 13'' + 20''
10. ITABRAMBILLA, Gianluca 172 Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 9h 28' 15'' + 22''