Maximilian Schachmann took a second stage victory to extended his overall lead on stage three of the Tour of the Basque Country.
The German stayed out of trouble in the final 5km as a big crash took out a large number of overall and stage favourites.
With Geraint Thomas, Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Julian Alaphilippe and Enric Mas (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) all caught in the crash, Schachmann was free of his strongest rivals.
After waiting until the final 200 metres of the shallow climb to the line, Schachmann opened up an attack and pulled well clear of the bunch to take his second stage victory of the week after the opening time trial.
How it happened
Stage three of the race presented a characteristically unpredictable day of Basque racing, over 191.km from Sarriguren just outside Pamlona to Estibaliz.
Again the climbing opened early with the 8.9km-long second category ascent to Goni in the first 30km, followed by 100km of undulating roads and an uncategorised rise.
The next test was the third category climb to Opakua, 5.3km at 4.3 percent, 60km from the line before a long descent.
A flat run to the line followed over the next 50km, before the final test – a 2km rise to the line at around four per cent.
The early break of seven riders set the pace for the day, consisting of Tom Skujinš, Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Ben King (Dimension Data), José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi) Nicolas Sessler and José Fernandes (Burgos-BH).
Incidents in the first part of the day saw Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) and Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) abandon the race.
After extending the advantage out to more than three minutes, the breakaway started to lose time as escapees slowly began to slip back.
With 20km left to race the gap dropped to 50 seconds, with King, Bernard, Skujinš, Bernard, Rojas, Armirail and Sessler clinging on out front.
Team Sky, Jumbo-Visma and Quick-Step controlled the pace back in the bunch.
Sessler was the next man to accept his fate at the 13km mark as the five WorldTour riders pushed hard, working well together.
A big crash at the front of the bunch inside 5km caught out a number of favourites, including Geraint Thomas, Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
The break was swept up almost immediately after the crash, with a reduced bunch powering to the line after the collision.
Quick-Step formed a team time trial unit to try and get Enric Mas back in contact, but the team quickly lost 90 seconds.
A large group came under the flamme rouge together, with race leader Schachmann holding a strong position at the head of the bunch.
The German opened up his sprint 200 metres from the line and powered clear of the bunch to take the win and extend his lead.
Tour of the Basque Country stage three: Sarriguren to Estíbaliz (191.4km)
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 4-47-47
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
4. Marc Hirschi (Sui) Sunweb
5. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Astana
6. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Carlos Julian Quintero Noreña (Col) Manzana Postobon
10. Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida, all at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 8-34-31
2. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Astana, at 33 seconds
3. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, at 49s
5. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 51s
6. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First, at 53s
7. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana, at 54s
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-11
9. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, at 1-16
10. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb, at same time