Slovakian Peter Sagan claimed his first Grand Tour stage victory in two years on the third stage of the Spain’s Vuelta on Monday.
The 25-year-old Saxo-Tinkoff rider edged out France’s Nacer Bouhanni and German John Degenkolb in a sprint to the line at the end of the 158.4km ride from Mijas to Malaga in time of 4hr 06min 46sec.
Colombia’s Esteban Chaves maintains the overall lead after his victory on Sunday’s second stage.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin remains in second, five seconds behind, with Ireland’s Nicholas Roche a further 10 seconds back in third.
Sagan finished second an incredible five times during the Tour de France last month and his latest success adds to three stage wins at the Vuelta three years ago.
“I was lucky that after a crash yesterday I didn’t suffer any damage and today I have to thank the team because we deserve this victory,” said Sagan.
All of the general classification favourites finished with the same time so Nairo Quintana maintains a four-second advantage over Britain’s Chris Froome, who is hoping to become just the third man to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta in the same year.
After the drama of three-time Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali’s expulsion from the race on Sunday for being towed by his Astana team car, Monday’s stage failed to produce any significant changes in the general classification as the sprinters enjoyed one of the few chances offered to them on this year’s route.
They still had to get over the first category one climb of the tour midway through the stage, but an initial breakaway group of eight riders was whittled down and eventually caught 13km from the finish.
And it was finally Sagan’s time on the road into Malaga as he had just enough to hold off a late surge from Bouhanni to seal the win. – Agence France-Presse