Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) launched an impressive attack in the closing kilometre of the mountainous third stage of the 2013 Volta a Catalunya, won by Movistar’s Nairo Quintana.
The reigning Tour de France champion finished fourth at the finish of an exciting 180.1km stage from Vidreres to the ski resort at Vallter 2000.
A voracious peloton gobbled up the last of the breakaway survivors, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), with 4.5km to go, setting the scene for a battle royale among the GC contenders that reached its climax as the peloton passed beneath the final red kite.
Jurgen Van Den Broecke (Lotto-Belisol) was the first of the big men to show his hand, launching after Edet at a high cadence, passing the young Frenchman while still in the saddle.
Edet somehow responded and caught Van Den Broeck’s wheel, but was shed less than a kilometre later as the Belgian built an 18-second lead over a Sky-led peloton.
Dario Cataldo, a key lieutentant to Chris Froome at last week’s Tirreno-Adriatico, put in another extended shift, with Wiggins, grimacing but game, on his wheel. Rigoberto Uran, another Sky man fresh from duties in Italy, moved effortlessly to the front to take up the pace making.
The trio were the first to make contact with Van Den Broeck, but were passed almost immediately by an attack from Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), newly returned from a doping ban.
Other teams joined Team Sky in terminating the American’s short-lived lead, but no sooner had he been caught then Wiggins launched an electrifying attack with 900 metres to go. The Londoner, not known for accelerations on steep gradients, grimaced under the effort, and was caught by Quintana, who dragged Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and world number one, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), with him to Wiggins’ wheel.
A brief stalemate ensued before ‘Purito’ launched his bid for victory. The Spaniard however, had no answer for Quintana, whose acceleration was sudden, violent, and unanswerable. Launched with just 200 metres to go, the Movistar man led home his team leader, Alejandro Valverde, for an impressive victory and a memorable one-two for the Spanish squad.
Volta a Catalunya 2013 – stage three – result
1) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar – 5.01.20
2) Alejandro Valverde (SPA) – Movistar +6″
3) Joaquim Rodriguez (SPA) – Katusha
4) Bradley Wiggins (GBR) – Team Sky
5) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +9″
6) Peter Stetina (USA) – Garmin-Sharp
7) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
8) Przemysla Niemiec (POL) – Lampre-Merida
9) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Team Sky
10) Domencio Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
1) Alejandro Valverde (SPA) – Movistar – 12.45.22
2) Joaquim Rodriguez (SPA) – Katusha +6″
3) Bradley Wiggins (GBR) – Team Sky +10″
4) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida +13″
5) Przemysla Niemiec (POL) – Lampre-Merida – ST
6) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +22″
7) Robert Gesink (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling +36″
8) David Lopez (SPA) – Team Sky – ST
9) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Garmin-Sharp – ST
10) Peter Stetina (USA) – Garmin-Sharp + 41″