VINUESA, Spain (AP) — Daniel Martin held of his rivals on an uphill climb to the finish line to win the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Thursday and close in on defending champion Primoz Roglic’s overall lead.
Martin clinched the victory with a strong push in the final meters (yards) of the 166-kilometer (103-mile) hilly stage from Lodosa to Vinuesa. The win moved him to within five seconds of Roglic, who finished second on the stage. Richard Carapaz was third and is 13 seconds off the overall lead.
Roglic, who a few weeks ago lost the Tour de France on the final competitive stage, won the first Vuelta stage and was second on the second stage.
Marc Soler, the second-stage winner on Wednesday, needed a bike change near the end, while Esteban Chaves also faced mechanical difficulties.
French rider Thibaut Pinot withdrew from the Vuelta before the start of the third stage because of back pain stemming from his crash on the first day of the Tour de France. He will not compete again this year.
Friday’s fourth stage will take riders 191.7 kilometers (119 miles) through a mostly flat route from Garray to Ejea de los Caballeros. It will be one of the few stages this year with a sprint finish.
The Vuelta is taking place amid tight health restrictions as Spain recently endured a surge in coronavirus cases. The race was postponed from earlier in the year because of the pandemic.
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