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by Shane Stokes
August 22, 2017
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Nibali wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a España, Froome takes red jersey; Lawless wins stage 4 of the Tour de l’Avenir; Froome surprised to take race lead so soon; Contador: ‘I don’t know what happened – I had very bad sensations’; Majka rues lost time after off day; Tom-Jelte Slagter signs for Dimension Data, team says his best is yet to come; Alex Dowsett to slot into Kittel’s leadout train at Katusha-Alpecin, also has own ambitions; Sabrina Stultiens returns to WM3; Gary West remembered; Video: Artemis World Cycle Week 6 Wrap: Through Australia and onto New Zealand
Having started the race as Bora-hansgrohe’s team leader, Rafal Majka was dismayed to have lost significant time on Monday’s third stage. The Polish rider was on a bad day and lost contact with the other GC contenders on the final climb, finishing two minutes 35 seconds back.
“I had a really bad day today,” he said. “I felt it from the beginning and already suffered on the first climb. It was a hard day for me, but I kept on fighting because it is still a long way to go to Madrid and most of the favourites will suffer one bad day in this race. Still, we lost precious time today and it will be hard to come back from this deficit we are already facing now.”
Majka, who has twice won the King of the Mountains title in the Tour de France, was third in the 2015 Vuelta a España and has also been fifth, sixth and seventh in the Giro. He is now 29th, two minutes 53 seconds behind new race leader Chris Froome, and knows he has a battle on his hands.
Directeur sportif Steffen Radochla said that the team will need to weigh up the situation and decide how it proceeds. “In the end the race turned out to be different from what we expected,” he said. “We had to put in all our efforts to support Rafal, who suffered a lot. But he proved to be a real leader and kept on fighting until the end.
“We have to analyze the situation before we can work on a plan for the next days, but for sure this is a big fallback to our goals for this Vuelta.”