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by Mark Zalewski
April 6, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kittel takes fifth Scheldeprijs win; De La Cruz solos to impressive stage win at Vuelta a Pais Vasco; Coquard wins second stage at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, Dowsett takes TT and lead; Van Dijk, Pieters take wins on opening day of Healthy Ageing Tour; Steve Tilford, master of cycling disciplines, dies at 57 after traffic accident; UCI adopts new safety measures proposed by Professional Riders Council; Vanmarcke out for Paris-Roubaix; Van Avermaet turns focus to Paris-Roubaix; Cavendish out of Paris-Roubaix with ongoing ankle injury; Kittel confirms return to Tour of California; Distance cyclist Mark Beaumont aiming to cycle around the world in 80 days; Bicycle fabricated from recycled coffee pods; Zwift Stories – Mathew Hayman; Urban Freeride lives – Fabio Wibmer.
David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) put in a brave attack on the final climb of the third stage and held a small advantage for the final 15km of the race to take the win and the overall lead. Michal Kwiatowski (Team Sky) and Jay McCarthy (BORA-Hansgrohe) led the group in for second and third.
The last riders of the main break were caught at 22km to go and the Movistar team moved to the front to setup their leader Alejandro Valverde. But moments later Valverde was at the side of the road with a mechanical, with Gorka Izagirre handing over his bike. Almost at the same time similar bad luck struck ORICA-Scott with Simon Yates having a puncture and a teammate trying to swap a wheel. With 20km to go on the stage there would be no waiting for anyone, with Team Sky hitting the front.
On the final climb with around 15km to go Mikael Cherel (AG2R) elevated the pace, going off the front, with De La Cruz initially marking the move. However, a few moments later De La Cruz passed Cherel and went on his own while Cherel floated back to the group.
De La Cruz quickly built a 30 second lead and alarm bells began to ring in the group. LottoNL-Jumbo’s Primoz Roglic attacked in pursuit with Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) joining. The pair got to within eight seconds of the leader but never made contact. Over the top of the Maddiola De La Cruz had increased his lead back to 16 seconds.
On the descent De La Cruz was able to grow his lead, picking the best lines around the narrow turns, with race leader Michael Matthews (Sunweb) forced to chase in the group behind. That advantage proved to be enough time for De La Cruz, taking the win by three seconds.