Magnus Sheffield won his first professional race on stage three of the Ruta del Sol, bombing ahead of the rest of the pack during the final sprint to open up a three second gap.
The 19-year-old, who joined Ineos Grenadiers at the start of 2022, broke away from the bunch with just half a kilometre left in the race and managed to hang on as he powered his way to a commanding victory.
The bunch, containing riders such as Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech), Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), and Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates), were unable to keep pace with Sheffield during his aggressive attack for the finish line in Otura.
Covi holds onto the leader's jersey after the conclusion of stage three though, leading Miguel Ángel López (Astana) by just eight seconds as both finished in the top-10 of stage three. Two more stages remain in the Ruta del Sol.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Maintaining the lowest profile score of the five stages in the Ruta del Sol, stage three presented an undulating course with the sprinters expected to take centre stage.
A 153.2km route heading southeast from Lucena to Otura, riders had to contend with four mountain passes, three of which reach gradients in excess of five per cent. However, after the Alto de Cacín climb, the sprinters inevitably took over as they converged on the finish line Otura.
Before the beginning of the third stage of the Ruta del Sol, Gazprom-RusVelo and Human Powered Health both withdrew after multiple team members returned positive Covid-19 tests.
Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates), a fast finisher, entered the third stage as the favourite to take the win.
Early on in the race, four riders broke free from the peloton to build up a gap of at least two minutes, which they maintained for over 100km. The breakaway group included Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural–Seguros RGA), Ibai Azurmendi, Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel–Euskadi) and Juan Antonio López-Cózar (Burgos BH), but López-Cózar failed to hang on and was dropped with 45km left, followed by Barrenetxea shortly after.
Barrenetxea did manage to maintain his lead in the KOM classification though, picking up 15 points across the course of the stage.
With less than 30km to go, and once the riders had completed all of the major climbs in the day, the action really started to intensify. Multiple attacks from riders such as Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) from the peloton helped close the gap to the leading group, until eventually the two merged with just over 20km.
In the final kilometres of the race, on the approach to Otura, Mikel Landa and Damiano Caruso, both of Bahrain-Victorious, were dropped from the peloton. Ineos Grenadiers riders Jhonatan Narváez and Carlos Rodríguez also suffered a crash with just 2.5km left too, ending their races prematurely.
Kämna attempted an attack, before 19-year-old Magnus Sheffield stole the victory by bombing away from the sprinters in a display of complete class. His first professional victory, the 19-year-old secured this on just his ninth race day for Ineos Grenadiers, who he joined at the beginning of 2022.
1. Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers, in 3-54-37
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech at 3 seconds
3. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team at 3s
4. Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers at 3s
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 3s
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-Victorious at 3s
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 3s
8. Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange-Jayco at 3s
9. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan Team at 3s
10. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team at 3s
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE THREE
1. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, in 13-09-41
2. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan Team at 8 seconds
3. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech at 10s
4. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team at 10s
5. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 10s
6. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies at 10s
7. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-Victorious at 16s
8. Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange-Jayco at 19s
9. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe) at 19s
10. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team at 19s
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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