Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Volta a Catalunya stage 3

Torrential rain and snow caused today's third stage of the Volta a Catalunya to be shortened and time gaps nullified.

The bad weather forced the organizers to cut what was supposed to be the queen-stage from 210,9km to 155. The big climbs were also taken out of the race, and a host of riders called it quits underway. Valverde was the most high-profile DNF, while Euskaltel's Amets Txurruka and Pierre Cazaux both threw in the towel. Samuel Sánchez hit the deck only five kilometres in, the team's website reports, but soldiered on in the ghastly weather to complete the stage. Also Mikel Nieve, who himself took a tumble yesterday, came through the day.

The stage was won by Janez Brajkovic, the Slovenian proving the strongest from a day-long break. As mentioned above though, today's time will not count towards the GC, so Michael Albasini is still in possession of the leader's jersey.

Iván Velasco completed the stage, but was quick to deem it "the worst day ever on a bike" on Twitter afterwards. Another frequent 'tweeter', Mikel Astarloza, informed he'd opted to train on the boards today instead of going for a ride on the slippery roads. Victor Cabedo summed it up nicely: "A day to remember, but not to repeat. Let's hope the sun comes out tomorrow!"

Tomorrow's stage will take the riders 199km from Tremp to Ascó.

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