Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) attacked an elite group of GC contenders in the final 2km of stage three of the Volta a Catalunya to take victory on the day and move to fourth in the overall standings.
A group containing Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Richie Porte (Team Sky), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step) as well as Pozzovivo, managed to break away on the final category one climb of the Alt Dels Angels, and were later joined by Andrew Talansky and Daniel Martin of Cannondale-Garmin.
The six riders behind the winner Pozzovivo, who are all invested in a GC tilt, managed to hold out a gap of 19 seconds to a second group of riders which contained Tuesday’s stage winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and virtual race leader on the road Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
Chris Froome (Team Sky), who was dropped along with Valverde on the final climb, also finished in the chasing pack.
It looked like none of the lead riders were willing to make a move to get away from their rival as they descended the Angels and made their way along the flat to the finish.
But it was the Italian Pozzovivo who made the decisive jump 2km from the line which no-one responded to until it was too late, with a sprint finish deciding who would round-off the day’s podium.
Uran was pipped to second by Martin on the line, with the Irishman securing Cannondale-Garmin’s first UCI WorldTour points of the season as he and the rest of the group finished three seconds back on the winner.
Maciej Paterski, who lead the race at the stage start, drifted back to second behind Rolland as he struggled on the final climb, finishing 1-04 behind the Frenchman.
Rolland goes into Thursday’s Queen stage, which features a summit finish on the La Molina climb, with over two minutes on all of the leading contenders from stage three’s lead group.
Volta a Catalunya stage three (157km), Girona-Girona:
1. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale in 3-52-37
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin, at 3 seconds
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick–Step, st
4. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky, st
7. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin, st
8. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana, at 22 seconds
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, st
10. Alberto Losada (Esp) Katusha, st
1. Pierre Roland (Fra) Europcar, 22-09-23
2. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice, at 1-08
3. Bart de Clerq (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 1-16
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale, at 2-14
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick–Step, at 2:21
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin, at 2-22
7. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2-27
8. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky, st
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st
10. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin, st