Damage minimised for Chaves on Catalunya stage three

Wed 25 Mar 2015

Colombian Esteban Chaves has finished amongst the second group on the road in his ‘home’ town of Girona on the third stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya this afternoon.

Caught on the wrong side of a crash on a descent 40km from the finish, Chaves’ group recovered well to minimise the damage, crossing the line 25seconds in arrears of stage winner Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) and 22seconds behind a select group of general classification contenders.

“The guys were doing a good job today and we were just unfortunate to be behind a crash that caused the initial split,” sport director Dave McPartland said.

“It happened just in front of us so we were on one hand lucky not to go down with it, but on the other a little unfortunate because the reality is that we have lost 22seconds.

“But putting things in perspective, it could have been a lot worse. Coming into the final climb the gap was expanding towards the one minute mark and we thought it could potentially blow out but the way it turned out Esteban’s group was able to come back at them.”

Despite the time lost, the ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit still has confidence in supporting the 2014 Tour of California and Tour de Suisse stage winner for a solid overall result.

“Tomorrow, minutes will be like seconds,” McPartland said. “It’s a hard stage.”

“We are still concentrating on the general classification. We will conserve as much as we can early and then towards the end of the stage when the big guys move we will make sure we put Chaves in a position where he is right there to follow them.

“Hopefully he can finish as high as possible. It will be good to see how he can fair tomorrow.”

Three riders formed the day’s early move but were given little leeway and were caught with a little under 50km to go.

After the surprisingly successful breakaway on stage one, the general classification challengers had their teams put pressure on the front in effort to shake up the leader board and it made for a great finale in Girona.

Tinkoff – Saxo were the most aggressive and with the help of the crash, their pressure initially reduced the peloton to less than 30riders.

The punchy attacks began on the final category one climb, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff – Saxo) the first, closely marked by Richie Porte (Team Sky), until a group of five leaders remained over the top of the ascent.

Two Cannondale-Garmin riders managed to bridge across on the descent into the finish and as the chase group worked to close the gap, Pozzovivo attacked within the final two kilometres to hold on for the victory.

Tomorrow is the most crucial day for general classification. A challenging 188.4km journey from Tona is capped off with a mountain top finish in La Molina.