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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
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La Vuelta: Roche makes move as Lastras takes the win

Stage Three of the Vuelta saw the peloton cover the 163km of rolling countryside between Petrer and Totana, a route made all the more difficult by the 40-degree heat of the Murcian summer.

Movistar's Pablo Lastras salutes the crowd as he crosses the line.
Movistar's Pablo Lastras salutes the crowd as he crosses the line.
Image: ALBERTO SAIZ/AP/Press Association Images

SPAIN’S PABLO LASTRAS emerged as the hero of the Vuelta a España’s third day, after riding off the front of a breakaway to claim a commanding stage victory, his first in a grand tour since 2002.

Riding aggressively on a short course complicated by unpredictable elevation changes and intense heat, the Spaniard found himself in the company of the Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Rusian Pydgornyy (Vacansoleil) and Markel Irizar (RadioShack) approaching the summit of the final climb.

With the peloton looking fragmented and disorganised nearly two minutes behind, Lastras seized the initiative with about twelve kilometres to go and attacked, quickly opening a twenty-second gap on his three rivals for the stage victory.

As the Movistar rider powered to the finish, Chavanel attempted to mount a challenge, but found his efforts hampered by the reluctance of Pydgornyy and Irizar to catapult the Frenchman to a likely sprint victory.

Lastas eventually crossed the line fifteen seconds ahead of the chasing trio and 1’43” ahead of the peloton, which was lead over the line by AG2R’s Nicolas Roche. Banking valuable green jersey points along with his top-five finish, the Irishman has vaulted into to 40th place on the general classification.

The other Irishman in the field, Garmin’s Dan Martin, is in 21st position.

Lastras, who takes a twenty-second lead over Chavanel at the top of the GC, will wear the red jersey during the tour’s fourth stage.

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