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by Shane Stokes
April 5, 2018
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Australian rider Jay McCarthy was best at the end of stage 3 of the Itzulia Basque Country on Wednesday, taking the bunch gallop into Valdegovia ahead of Aleksandr Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates) and former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky).
It was the Bora-hansgrohe rider’s second win of the year after the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, and shows his development as a rider. Overnight race leader Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep Floors) finished sixth and retains the yellow jersey.
“The team did a stellar job today and worked the whole day really hard to support our GC leaders and help me in the final, if it all came back together,” said McCarthy. “Felix and Cece rode super strong to control the race in the last 30km. Then Gregor came in the last five kilometres to the front and did a great lead-out for me. I started the sprint early and gave it all. I am really happy with this victory and want to thank my teammates for their support.”
The hilly stage from Bermeo covered 194.8 kilometres. Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) sparked off the day’s break, being joined afterwards by Ben King (Dimension Data), Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin), Brendan Canty (EF Education First-Drapac), Pavel Sivakov (Team Sky), Ion Irisarri (CajaRural-RGA) and Aritz Bagües (Euskadi Murias).
De Gendt and Juul-Jensen later pushed on ahead and were joined by Sky duo Kwiatkowski and David De La Cruz, but everything came back together with three kilometres to go. McCarthy was best in the sprint, while Alaphilippe’s sixth place saw him retain his eight second lead over Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo). Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) stays third, 39 seconds behind.