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by Shane Stokes
January 25, 2018
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Two months after predicting that his move to Trek-Seguro would see him become significantly faster against the clock, Ryan Mullen delivered on that promise with victory on stage three of the Vuelta a San Juan. The Irish TT and road race champion took his biggest professional result in winning the 14.4 kilometre test, covering the distance in 17 minutes 43 seconds.
This was 25 seconds faster than the Italian Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates), and 30 seconds quicker than both Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) and Greg Daniel (Trek-Segafredo). Past world and European individual pursuit champion Ganna was better positioned overall and now inherits the race lead from stage 2 winner Roman Villalobos (Canel’s Specialized).
“When I saw the race programme for San Juan, I was happy because there was this time trial,” said Mullen after Wednesday’s solo effort. “I came here with this goal, but without pressure since it was the first race of the year. I managed the race the best possible. I knew there was head-wind in the final four kilometres and I saved energy for that moment.”
Mullen was nearly three minutes back starting the stage and so didn’t trouble Ganna in the battle for the GC lead. The Italian is now five seconds clear of Majka, with Oscar Sevilla (Medellin) – fifth in the TT – now third overall, 11 seconds back. His teammate Omar Mendoza is a further eight seconds behind, with Movistar’s Eduardo Sepulveda fifth, 25 seconds down.
The race continues with a 182.2 kilometre stage from San Jose Jachal to Valle Fértil/Villa San Martín.