Remco Evenepoel storms to victory at La Molina on stage three of the Volta a Catalunya

Evenepoel tied on overall time with Primož Roglič, Slovenian holds slim general classification lead

Remco Evenepoel wins stage three of volta catalunya at la molina
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) gave himself a huge morale boost with a resounding victory on stage three of the Volta a Catalunya.

The reigning World Champion moved level on time with Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). However, Roglič holds a slender advantage in the overall standings due to bonus seconds accrued.

Evenepoel launched a big attack with four kilometres left on the final climb of La Molina. Only the Jumbo-Visma man was able to follow him. All of the signs pointed towards another victory for the Slovenian, but Evenepoel had other ideas.

As the duo powered towards the finish, Roglič refused to work, saving himself for a final trademark turbo-charged sprint to the line.

On a final steep hairpin bend as the road kicked up, Evenepoel landed a knockout punch, powering away with a vicious acceleration to take a huge victory.

It was a big statement of intent from Evenepoel as the world champion builds for the Giro d'Italia in May.

Yesterday's winner Giulio Ciccone came home in third, with Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) and Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) rounding out the top five.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Stage three was due to provide another tough day in the saddle with a summit finish on the La Molina climb in the north of the region.

It was highly anticipated that the stage would rapidly become another shootout between Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). The Jumbo-Visma man led the general classification, with Evenepoel and Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) both six seconds back from the Slovenians lead.

Once racing had got underway, attacks came early and a breakaway soon formed containing Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost), Guillame Martin (Cofidis), Simone Petilli (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty), Filippo Zanna (Jayco-AIUla), Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros), Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny) and Niklas Eg (Uno-X). The leaders soon had a gap of more than five minutes.

As the climbs started to bite, the breakaway gradually began to shatter with Cepeda, Eg and Petilli dropping away. Solid work on the front of the peloton from Soudal Quick-Step rapidly whittled down the leader's advantage. Petilli, Eg and Cepeda were caught in no man’s land between the trio led by Carapaz and the peloton.  The Col de la Crueta took its toll on tired legs, and as they descended the mountain Carapaz, Martin and Van Gils had an advantage of just over one minute 30 seconds.

Carapaz appeared to be the sharpest in the leading group, with it looking like he may have been saving something for the finale. With 17 kilometres to go, as the trio of leaders careered towards the base of the final climb to La Molina, Soudal Quick-Step had all their riders lined up on the front of the bunch, driving the pace as they looked to set up Evenepoel. Carapaz, Martin and Van Gils had 28 seconds on the peloton as they began the final climb.

With the peloton in sight, Martin faded and was swept up by the Soudal Quick-Step train. Carapaz was the next to be swallowed up, and Van Gils followed moments later. Suddenly, with four kilometres left to race, Evenepoel launched a huge move from the main field which only Roglič could follow. Ciccone couldn’t answer the power from Evenepoel, and the duo soon moved clear of the select group behind them.

As the riders hit a brief descent before the final punch to the finish, Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) powered away in pursuit of the world champion and Roglič but it would be to no avail, as the chasers soon reeled him back in.

Meanwhile up the road, Roglič looked like he was refusing to work, keeping Evenepoel just in front of him as the Slovenian got set to launch a trademark powerful sprint for the line. However, the world champion had the final say.

On a steep hairpin bend just before the finish, the Belgian launched a vicious sprint for the line to which the Slovenian had no answer. Evenepoel powered away from his rival to land a huge victory ahead of a tough second-half to the week.  

The world champion moved level on overall time with Roglič. The Slovenian holds a slender advantage due to bonus seconds accrued. 

RESULTS VOLTA A CATALUNYA 2023, STAGE THREE: OLOST TO LA MOLINA (178.6 KM)  

1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step, in 04-40-43
2.  Primož Roglič  (SLO) Jumbo-Visma, at 2s
3. Giulio Ciccone (ITA) Trek-Segafredo, at 13s
4. Jai Hindley (AUS) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Joao Almeida (POR) UAE Team Emirates
6. Mikel Landa (SPA) Bahrain Victorious
7. Michael Woods (CAN) Israel-Premier Tech
8.  Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora Hansgrohe
9. Esteban Chaves (COL) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Romain Bardet (FRA), DSM, all at same time 

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE THREE

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 12-42-17
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, at same time
3. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 19s
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain Victorious, at 44s
5. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
6.. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora Hansgrohe,
7. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech,
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) EF Education-EasyPost, all at 48s
9. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora Hansgrohe, at 58s
10. Marc Soler (Spa) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-12

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