Etixx – Quick-Step on the attack in Pais Vasco
Laurens De Plus went into the break on Wednesday, while teammate Gianluca Brambilla finished fourth from the reduced bunch sprint.
One of the youngest World Tour riders this season, 20-year-old Laurens De Plus attacked from the peloton inside the final 30 kilometers and was soon followed by other men, together with whom he bridged to the day's original escape. The newly formed group built a lead of half a minute over the peloton controlled by Sky and began to hope that it will manage to give the slip to the chasers. On the last climb of the day, other riders jumped from the bunch, including Gianluca Brambilla, but they were reeled in, as the pack was preparing for the final descent.
That was where Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) attacked from his companions and opened a 20-second gap, which was then reduced also thanks to the huge efforts and strong pulls of Laurens, who even tried his hand at one point, before all the escapees were brought together, with one kilometer left of stage three. As the peloton wasn't well-organised, Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) accelerated from there and managed to keep the chasers at bay, taking the victory ahead of Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo). Despite his earlier effort on Alto de la Piedad, Gianluca got involved in the sprint and finished fourth, another result which comes as proof of the fantastic consistency he displayed since the start of the season.
First used by the Vuelta al Pais Vasco almost two decades ago, Alto de Aia returns on the course for stage 4 (Lesaka – Orio, 165 kilometers), on a day which will see the peloton tackle also Alto de Jaizkibel and Alto de Arkale, the iconic ascents of Clasica San Sebastian. Alto de Aia will be climbed three times, the last ascent coming with around 15 kilometers to go, from a side which is only 1.8 km-long, but has an average gradient of 12.2%.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele