Romain Bardet managed to hold on to his first win in three years at the Vuelta a Burgos 2021 as well as taking the overall lead despite crashing on the descent of the final climb.
The Team DSM rider managed to distance Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Domenico Pozzovivo (Qhubeka-NextHash) and Mikel Nieve (BikeExchange) on the climb of the Picón Blanco, which will be a summit finish at this year's Vuelta a España.
Bardet went solo over the top and went into his preferred terrain of the descent and managed to pull out his gap to the chasers who aren't as strong on the downhill. Fortunately for the Frenchman, he had enough gap to win by 39 seconds even after crashing.
It was his first win since he took the 2018 one-day race, Faun Environnement-Classic de l'Ardèche Rhône Crussol.
Speaking after the stage, Bardet said: "We knew it was maybe the hardest climb of the week so we wanted to try something as a team,
"The guys put me in a really good position at the bottom of the climb and I really had good legs today. We came here for day results and the goal was to win a stage so we’ve done that."
The climb of the Picón Blanco will be the first summit finish at the Vuelta a España 2021 as it arrives on stage three with the 7.9km climb with an average gradient of 9.2 per cent
"I felt that I could jump and go on my own on the climb, as we knew I was good on the downhill. Then I got that stupid crash because I went a bit too fast around the corner but I managed to get back on my bike as soon as possible, and I made it to the finish.
"It was a really nice climb, with some really steep roads but it was pretty tactical with the headwind so I decided to wait until the last moment to do my attack. We’ll take it day by day now. Tomorrow is a good opportunity for Alberto [Dainese] in the sprint and then we’ll see if we can defend the jersey on Saturday."
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) finished 53 seconds down on his own after losing touch to the main group of GC riders in the final few 100 metres. British stars Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) and Hugh Carthy (EF-Nippo) both finished almost eight minutes down.
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