Vuelta a Espana 2014: stage three - Strava update
Wilco Kelderman and Paul Martens strike late to take top-five sports
by Colin Henrys
Wilco Kelderman and Belkin Pro Cycling team-mate Paul Martens ensured stage three of the Vuelta a Espana proved to be a success for the Dutch team, with both bagging top-five spots on the stage.
Their efforts – which saw Kelderman ride to 11th overall – saw them join the likes of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) in an elite front group.
The 16-man leading group were seven seconds clear of the red jersey group at the uphill finish, after Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was brought down by a team-mate crashing to leave him unable to hold his overall lead.
And the way they achieved it can be seen in more detail thanks to Kelderman and Martens being users of Strava.
Kelderman was the fastest of all Strava users on the final five kilometres, setting an average speed of 51.3km/h – his Pioneer showing his power output to have been in excess of 400 watts on average.
Martens, meanwhile, was just three seconds slower – with both proving to be comfortably faster than the likes of Francesco Lasca (Caja Rural), who lost more than three minutes on the stage.
Martens ride was rated as 200 – an extreme suffer score – on Strava’s scale, with his near 200km in the saddle seeing him maintain an average cadence, according to the site, of 93rpm.
Despite the big gaps overall, however, it can be seen that much of the hurt was put on late in the stage as the GC men tested their legs.
Lasca – fifth on stage two – for example, was no slower than Martens and Kelderman on the second of the three category-three climbs tackled en route to Arcos de la Frontera.
The Caja Rural man, who tackled the long, twisting Puerto de Pedro Ruiz at an average speed of 25.3km/h, with an estimated cadence of 93rpm and estimated average output of 291 watts, was eighth of the Strava users for the climb.
Belkin’s advantage was, therefore, clearly pressed home at the denouement as the bunch was split and the GC men looked to press their advantage as Alejandro Valverde – taken out by a team-mate crashing – was caught the wrong end of a split at the worst possible time.
With Kelderman, Robert Gesink and Laurens ten Dam all challenging for the team in green, their final Grand Tour with Belkin as headline sponsors is looking likely to be a very enjoyable one.