Danny van Poppel (Sky) claimed back to back sprint victories with an emphatic win on stage three at the Vuelta a Burgos.
The Dutchman was able to finish off the hard work of his Team Sky team-mates into Villarcayo with a masterful piece of positioning in the final kilometre. Second wheel through the final tight right-hander, Van Poppel accelerated hard to take the victory, extending his lead in the green jersey standings. The top three mirrored that of day one, with Jempy Drucker (BMC Racing) and Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) rounding out the podium places.
The 198km test held a sting in the tail, with a hard passage over the Alto Retuerta which stretched the peloton to breaking point. Team Sky rallied around their sprinter, dragging back a dangerous move which included Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), before ramping up the pace following the descent. Having survived the tough third category climb, Van Poppel was dropped off expertly under the flamme rouge and took his third victory of the year in style.
A bunch sprint and no time bonuses allowed Dmitriy Gruzdev to retain a slender race lead over his Astana team-mates following Wednesday’s team time trial.
“I’m really happy. I didn’t expect to win today because it was a pretty hard final,” Van Poppel explained after the stage. “I suffered a lot, especially on the last climb and I was one of the last guys at the back. The team did a great job. They helped me and waited for me, then when we got back to the front they pulled full gas to take back a strong break. The lead-out was perfect!
“Cycling is a really hard sport. I know I’m not bad on the uphills, but it’s always difficult in Spain to ride uphill. I’m really happy to take another victory and I really want to thank the team. They did a great job! Tomorrow is possible again for a sprint, but first we enjoy this victory!”
Vuelta a Burgos 2016 – stage 3 results (Sedano – Villarcayo):
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) ,,
3. Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,,
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) ,,
5. Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) ,,
6. Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,,
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) ,,
8. Luka Mezgec (Orica-BikeExchange) ,,
9. Zico Waeytens (Giant-Alpecin) ,,
10. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) ,,
General classification after stage 3:
- Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) 8:21:01
2. Dario Cataldo (Astana) ,, 3. Michele Scarponi (Astana) ,, 4. Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) +03″ 5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) ,, 6. David De La Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,, 7. Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,, 8. Ruben Fernandez (Movistar) ,, 9. Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) ,, 10. Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,,
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Danny Van Poppel gianni meersman Jean-Pierre Drucker Sky sprint vuelta a burgos