Alberto Contador gave another demonstration of his stage racing skills by winning the toughest stage of the Tour of the Basque Country on Wednesday.
The steep Arrate climb decided the stage, with Contador jumping away near the top and staying clear to win alone by nine seconds.
Cadel Evans (Silence) tried to go after Contador, failed to catch him but won the sprint for second ahead of Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel).
Contador leads Sanchez by nine seconds in the overall standings, with Evans third in the same time.
With an easier stage on Thursday, the Tour of the Basque Country looks set to be decided in Saturday?s 24km final time trial stage. Contador must be favourite but Evans could stop him taking a second consecutive win.
?For me it is an honor to win here. Arrate is famous in cycling. Here only strong riders can win. I wanted to take as many seconds as possible to have some advantage for the final time trial on Saturday,? Contador said.
?The differences are minimal, but every second counts. The race is still very open. My teammates worked so hard today, I did not want to disappoint them. Be sure that I will try to win the overall classification. This is my last race before a mid-season break. I still want to show some nice things this week.
After his impressive third place on Tuesday?s second stage, Ben swift (Katusha) was 131st, finishing in the main bunch at 18-59. Charly Wegelius (Silence) was 145th in the same time.
Results: Tour of the Basque Country, Stage 3
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana in 4-16-29
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence Lotto at 9sec
3 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel ? Euskadi same time
4 Antonio Colom (Spa) Team Katusha same time
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre ? N.G.C. at 28secs
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 33secs
7 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d?Epargne at 36secs
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 55secs
9 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Fuji ? Sevetto same time
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas both same time
131 Ben Swift (GBr) Katusha at 19 minutes
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 11-59-08 hrs
2 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi at 9 seconds
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at same time.
125 Ben Swift (GBr) Katusha at 28-41 minutes
Ben Swift third in Pais Vasco
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Five talking points from stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia 2022
It was a long, hot, and fast day from Parma to Genoa
By Adam Becket • Published
Can a classic steel race bike beat a modern superbike?
We fit power meter pedals to a Colnago C68 and a Colnago Master Olympic and ride them back to back to find out what 30 years of progress translates to in the real world. As it turns out? 14 seconds.
By Simon Smythe • Published