Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) powered to his second career Vuelta a España stage win and rode into the red jersey on Monday, winning stage 3 out of the break atop the Picón Blanco climb. Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) would take second on the day with Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) in third, while behind, a handful of overall favorites would lose time on their rivals.
Taaramäe was in the eight-rider move that went clear about 15 minutes into the 202.8 km stage from Santo Domingo de Silos, and the peloton allowed the break to get a gap of around nine minutes before very gradually starting to bring the advantage down. With 25 km to go, the break still had a gap of eight minutes. While the pace in the bunch was high, no one team seemed interested in doing all of the work in the bunch. Although the peloton did bring the gap down significantly on the run-in to the final climb, the escapees still had around four minutes as they hit the lower slopes of the ascent, where Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) soloed off the front.
When the rest of the breakaway went into chase mode, a few riders dropped off the back of the group. Taaramäe, Dombrowski, Elissonde, and Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) ultimately caught back up to Calmejane, and then Dombrowski, Taaramäe, and Elissonde pulled away with around 4.5 km to go. As that trio made its way towards the finish, a handful of notables started to lose touch from the UAE Team Emirates-led peloton, including Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).
With 2.8 km to go, Taaramee fired off the front and left his breakaway companions behind for good. Meanwhile, Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) was dropped from the pack. A few moments later he was able to rejoin the group, but he was dropped again for good some 2 km from the top of the climb.
Taaramäe held on to take his second career Vuelta stage win a decade after he won his first, with Dombrowski settling for runner-up honors 21 seconds later and Elissonde in third, 39 seconds back. Enric Mas (Movistar) arrived 1:45 down on Taaramäe, with Miguel Ángel López (Movistar), Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers), Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) all finishing together three seconds later. Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) was among the big names losing some time, arriving 21 seconds behind the López-led group. Romain Bardet (DSM) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) arrived 29 seconds behind López while Carapaz would finish exactly one minute behind López.
Heading into Tuesday’s stage 4, Taaramäe enjoys a 25-second GC lead over Elissonde, with Roglič in third, 30 seconds down.
La Vuelta ciclista a España (2.UWT) Santo Domingo de Silos → Picón Blanco