Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) claimed his first overseas win as a professional rider as he stormed to time trial victory on stage three of the Vuelta a San Juan.
Mullen, whose only previous victories since turning pro in 2016 have come at the Irish National Championships, produced a dominant performance on the flat, untechnical 14.4km course, winning by 25 seconds over Fillipo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates) who moved into the race lead.
A relatively early starter, Mullen had a long wait to find out if his time of 17-43 would be good enough to take the stage win, but must have had a good feeling when he crossed the line in San Juan, going a whopping 1-08 faster than the then-leader Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal), who would eventually finish in 18th place.
Some of Mullen's closest challengers were to come from riders high up in the general classification, and for a while Trek-Segafredo held the top two positions as American rider Gregory Daniel put in a strong ride to finish in a time of 18-13.
Daniel would eventually be pushed down the rankings, first by Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) who bettered his time by just fractions of a second, and then by Ganna whose time of 18-08 put him second on the leaderboard.
However no one else was able to break the 18-minute mark and come close to challenging Mullen, who started the season in the best manner possible with victory in his first time trial of the year.
Consolation for Ganna came in the form of the race lead, which he now holds by five seconds over Rafal Majka as former leader Roman Villalobos (Canel's Specialized) finished 32nd on the day, dropping down the 16th overall.
Vuelta a San Juan 2018, stage three: San Juan to San Juan, 14.4km (ITT)
1. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo, in 17-43 0:17:43
2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 25 secs 0:00:25
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 30 secs 0:00:30
4. Gregory Daniel (USA) Trek-Segafredo, at 30 secs
5. Oscar Sevilla (Esp) Medellin, at 36 secs
6. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar, at 38 secs
7. Omar Mendoza (Col) Medellin, at 44 secs
8. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 44 secs
9. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar, at 50 secs
10. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Quick-Step Floors, at 52 secs
General classification after stage three
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, in 6-58-37
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 5 secs
3. Oscar Sevilla (Esp) Medellin, at 11 secs
4. Omar Mendoza (Col) Medellin, at 19 secs
5. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar, at 25 secs
6. Ricardo Escuela (Arg) A.C.A. Virgen De Fatima, at 27 secs
7. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team, at 35 secs
8. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Quick-Step Floors, at 43 secs
9. Kanstantsin Suitsou (Blr) Bahrain-Merida, at 43 secs
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, at 45 secs
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