Volta Valenciana 2023: Simone Velasco wins from the breakaway on stage three
Italian capitalises on hesitation amongst the chasers to win the sprint from a reduced breakaway
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Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan) won stage three of the Volta Valenciana after outsprinting his rivals in the remnants of the day's breakaway.
For the entire five plus kilometres, the breakaway’s demise seemed inevitable with a rampaging Matej Mohorič on the front of the peloton with his Bahrain Victorious teammates looking to set up Fred Wright.
In the end, hesitation amongst the main field meant they were unable to get back on terms allowing the leaders to fight it out as the race flew into its final kilometre.
Velasco then had enough gas left in the tank to enable him to outsprint Bob Jungels and Jonas Wilsly (Uno-X).
After finishing in the main field, Italian Giulio Cicconne retained the overall lead after his victory on stage two.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Once live coverage was well under way, a six man breakaway was clear up the road with a gap of nearly three minutes.
American rider Lawson Craddock of Jayco AIUla appeared to be the strongest, pushing on up the climbs with another seasoned professional, Bob Jungels (BORA-Hansgrohe) trying to cling on to Craddock’s wheel.
Meanwhile, in the peloton with 26 kilometres left to race, Thomas Gloag (Jumbo-Visma) pushed on looking to establish a gap and bridge across to the leaders. Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan), Jonas Wilsly (Uno-X) and Jungels were also almost on terms with Craddock.
With 17 kilometres left to race, the trio of chasers caught Craddock, and the group looked to reorganise itself and push on to the finish with their slender advantage. Bahrain Victorious had their full squad on the front of the peloton, and put the hammer down looking to reel back in the leaders potentially with the aim of setting up Fred Wright.
As the finish rapidly approached, the catch seemed inevitable as the leaders distanced a fatigued Craddock. The bunch were at just 30 seconds despite the leaders best efforts.
Once the riders were up and over a slight rise in the road which led them under the three kilometre to go banner, the peloton led by a flying Matej Mohorič were breathing down the leaders neck’s.
Under a kilometre to go and the leaders whipped round two sweeping roundabouts as they headed towards the finishing straight. Hesitation amongst the chasers meant they were unable to get back on terms leaving the remaining trio of riders to fight it out for the win.
In the end, it would be Velasco's day as he launched a powerful final sprint that Wilsly and Jungels were unable to answer.
Italian Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) retained the overall lead after finishing in the main field.
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Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. Alongside his day job, prior to starting with the team, he wrote a variety of different pieces as a contributor to a cycling website, Casquettes and Bidons, including interviews with up and coming British riders.
Back in the day, Tom spent many summers visiting family in the South of France, catching the Tour de France from the roadside wherever possible. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Tour, and he hopes to ride the white gravel roads himself in the years to come.
Away from cycling, Tom’s interests include following football and researching First World War history.
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