Vuelta a Espana 2014: first five observations

Michael Matthews proves potential as Chris Froome looks to make up ground overall

Stage three of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana concluded with the third different rider in three days in the red jersey.

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE), who has also pulled on the Giro d’Italia’s maglia rosa this year, is the current incumbent after racing into the overall lead courtesy of victory on stage three – his third career victory at the Vuelta.

Michael Matthews celebrates pulling on the red jersey (pic: Sirotti)

While Matthews celebrated, however, Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) was left to rue what might have been – though his second place was nevertheless another clear indicator of the form he is in.

Further back, Alejandro Valverde was also ruing his misfortune – a team-mate crashing in the feed zone and bringing him down, costing him his hopes of defending the red jersey.

He recovered to lose just seven seconds on his rivals, but now finds himself trailing team-mate Nairo Quintana overall – potentially giving the Colombian Giro d’Italia champion the edge.

But what else can we take from three hugely contrasting, but equally enthralling stages so far?

Read our first five observations over the following pages.