A day after Samuel Sánchez's failure on stage two, Euskaltel seemingly embarked on stage three with a new race plan.
With the team's leader well and truly out of general classification contention already, Pablo Urtasun, normally charged with watching out for 'Samu', was given a free leash by his captain and decided to try his luck in the day's main break. With no GC contender in the team's ranks, the Euskaltel riders appear ready to hunt glory for themselves.
For Urtasun it didn't work out, but as a consolation prize he came away with the 'Most aggressive rider' award.
Chris Horner surprisingly grabbed the win on the uphill drag to the line, while Mikel Nieve and Sánchez stayed with the favourites' group that came in 13 seconds down.
Nieve was impeded by a crash at a bad time in the finale, but hard work by his team-mates ensured he got back on in time and defended his position overall.
Jorge Azanza also went down, but appeared to emerge relatively unscathed.
- (1, Chris Horner (RadioShack), 4:30:18)
- 20, Mikel Nieve, 0:13
- 23, Samuel Sánchez, s.t.
- 40, Igor Antón, 0:29
- 99, Egoi Martínez, 4:10
- 100, Gorka Verdugo, s.t.
- 108, Juan José Oroz, 4:51
- 142, Mikel Landa, 6:24
- 174, Pablo Urtasun, 11:55
- 196, Jorge Azanza, 13:55
Photo: Iñaki Azanza