Bob Jungels continues to sit in the top 10 with four days to go at the World Tour event.
Freezing temperatures and risk of snow led to a shortened and redesigned stage 3 of Volta a Catalunya, which instead of finishing at the top of Vallter 2000, where the overall classification contenders would have had a good chance of taking a serious option at winning the race, saw the bunch travel to Campedron, over a 153km course which included two classified climbs, Bracons and Port de Collabos.
The new route gave ideas to five riders – Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi Basque), Clement Chevrier (AG2R), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Lluis Mas (Caja Rural) and Pablo Torres (Burgos BH) – who booked a place in the breakaway which went all the way to the line, where De Gendt took the victory despite the escapees not having an advantage bigger than three minutes at any point during the race.
On Port de Collabos, four riders bolted away from the bunch and mounted the pressure on the other favourites, whose sudden increase in pace gapped a third of the peloton. Maximilian Schachmann, who is racing his first World Tour stage race of the year, was caught at the wrong side of the split, but displayed a superb fighting spirit as he put in a massive effort to return in the main pack with three kilometers to go, before annihilating a late attack and safely escorting Bob Jungels to the finish line.
"The pace was very high on the climb and when the guys at the front decided to crank on the pressure and break the peloton in the wind. I lost contact, but knew it wasn't all over, so I rode full gas to make it back. In the closing kilometer, Dan Martin attacked, but I immediately jumped and closed down that acceleration, catching also the four guys who were in the front at that moment. The final was very hectic, but it's a good thing all ended well for our team", Max Schachmann – seventh on stage 3, where Jungels cemented his place in the top 10 overall – said in Campedron.
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