La Vuelta – Stage 3 – Break Succeeds, Lastras Victorious

A rolling stage throughout Murcia made a good day for a break, and a good day it was for Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep), Markel Irizar (Radioshack), and Ruslan Pydgornyy (VacanSoleil). The four men built a lead up to about six and a half minutes and Leopard-Trek made a good effort to bring the group back taking 2 minutes out, but the peloton realized they left the pursuit too late. With 20km to go and 4 and a half minutes daunting, the peloton bunched across the road and eased the hard pursuit. Sky continued keeping the pace high enough to prevent any last minute attacks.

From there, it was the battle amongst the four break riders and they worked well together until km 11 on the Alto de la Santa when Pablo Lastras attacked his break mates with the gap to the peloton easing down to 2:17. Lastras hammered down the descent to build a nice gap and had 23 seconds on the other three going under the 7km banner. By 5km it was 16 seconds with Lastras hammering hard at 47kmph on the flat. Sylvain Chavanel was doing the majority of the chase work and he was reeling in Lastras trailing by only 9 seconds at three km. By 2km the drama was over, as Chavanel grew tired of pulling the other two and they began messing around looking at each other. Lastras cruised home for the win, taking the stage and the red jersey with a solid margin and dedicated the win to teammates Xavier Tondo, Juan Mauricio Soler and in a nice gesture as well, to Wouter Weylendt.

UPDATE: Somehow, two-time Vuelta winner Denis Menchov was caught out of the split and the group of leaders today finishing +3’06” back and falling to +4’01” and 75th in the GC. He trails last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali (7th – +1’59”) by 2’02” and teammate Carlos Sastre (45th – +2’58”) by 1’03”

Stage 3 Top Five
1. Pablo Lastras (Movistar)______3h58’00”
2. Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep)__+15″
3. Markel Irizar (Radioshack)
4. Ruslan Pydgornyy (VacanSoleil)
5. Nicolas Roche (AG2R)__________+1’43”

Full stage standings: La Vuelta

Overall Classification after Stage 3
1. Pablo Lastras (Movistar)________4h28’11”
2. Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep)____+20″
3. Markel Irizar (Radioshack)______+1’08”
4. Ruslan Pydgornyy (VacanSoleil)__+1’24”
5. Jacob Fuglsang (Leopard-Trek)___+1’55”

Full GC standings: La Vuelta

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