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Philippe Gilbert (center, in red) contested the bunch sprint finish. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Philippe Gilbert (center, in red) contested the bunch sprint finish. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Stage 3: Bunch Sprint

9. April 2014

Philippe Gilbert finished 15th for the BMC Racing Team in the bunch sprint Wednesday at Vuelta al Pais Vasco, while teammate Cadel Evans remained fifth overall heading into the race's key stage.

The Course:
The longest stage of the six-day race – at 194.5 kilometers – featured four categorized climbs, the last of which topped off fewer than 10 km from a downhill finish.

The Day's Breakaway:
Ruben Fernandez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) soloed away after a series of earlier breakaway moves were chased down. He was caught with 20 km to go thanks to the chasing efforts of Team Sky, Lampre-Merida and ORICA-GreenEDGE.

The Finish:
Michael Matthews won the bunch sprint to claim ORICA-GreenEDGE's third straight victory of a Pais Vasco stage that has ended in Vitoria, adding to those won in 2012 and 2013 by Daryl Impey. Kevin Reza (Team Europcar) was second and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finished third.

In The Overall Standings:
The top of the general classification remained unchanged, with Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) leading Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) by 14 seconds. Kwiatowski is third, at 34 seconds, with Evans tied on time with four others, 36 seconds off the lead.

What Samuel Sánchez Said:
"It was quite an easy stage, trying to recover energy as much as possible for tomorrow when we are going to ride the queen stage of this edition of Vuelta al Pais Vasco. In the final part of the stage we (the BMC Racing Team) worked together to keep the position of our GC (general classification) leaders and to avoid crashes."

What Sport Director Valerio Piva Said:
"Today was a stage that was easy for everybody. Orica controlled things and we stayed in the bunch and saved our legs for tomorrow and tried not to lose time in a tricky final. Tomorrow is the king stage, so we will see our leader on the final mountain tomorrow."

Looking Ahead:
Thursday's 151-km race from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Arrate includes five categorized climbs. The final ascent, the Alto de Usartza, is the day's longest – 7.3 kilometers at an average of 6.7 percent – and summits two kilometers from the finish.

Listen to complete comments on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.