La Molina - Ireland's Dan Martin gave his Belgian team Etixx-Quickstep a boost on
Wednesday when beating off a bunch of climb specialists to a
snow-capped summit win on stage three of the Tour of Catalonia.
The victory also gives Martin the overall lead after he attacked 500m
from home after Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana had first tried to
shake off a group of around 30 who led the race up the fourth climb of
At the 1725m high Molina ski station the 29-year-old Martin dug deep
to hold off Contador of Tinkoff, two seconds adrift in second, and
up-and-coming French climber Romain Bardet of AG2R in third.
Tejay Van Garderen and Richie Porte of the American BMC team were
fourth and fifth while Chris Froome of Sky, the first to try and break,
was 12sec behind Martin.
"The guys were incredible," said Martin. "Since this morning they
said they will ride for me and did a fantastic job. It’s great to see
how much confidence they have in me, and this only makes me stronger.
"There was some headwind on the climb, so it was important to time the attack to perfection on that steep part of La Molina."
Looking ahead to Friday's stage from Baga to Port Aine, Martin said he was braced for another testing day.
"That's another hard climb, and it will be difficult to defend the
jersey. Still, we have a very strong team and will try to keep the
"The time gaps are always small in this race, so who will come out on
top tomorrow will probably win the general classification.”
Earlier in the day French rider Nacer Bouhanni, the overnight leader
after two bunch sprint stage wins, pulled out with a stomach complaint.
Froome, Quintana and other mountain specialists will get a chance
Thursday to reel in main threat Contador when the fourth stage takes in a
pure climber's summit finish after two other category one mountains at
Pyrenean ski station Port Aine.
Results following the third stage of the Tour of Catalonia on Wednesday from Gerona to La Molina:
1. Daniel Martin (IRL/ETI), 5hr 00min 27sec, 2. Alberto Contador
(ESP/TIN) at 02sec, 3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) same time, 4. Tejay Van
Garderen (USA/BMC) s.t., 5. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 09, 6. Nairo Quintana
(COL/MOV) s.t., 7. Davide Formolo (ITA/CAN) 11, 8. Ilnur Zakarin
(RUS/KAT) 12, 9. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 12, 10. Hugh Carthy (GBR/CJR) 18
11. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 18, 13. Geraint Thomas
(GBR/SKY) 18, 16. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 18, 23. Fabio Aru
(ITA/AST) 22, 29. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 28
1. Daniel Martin (IRL/ETI) 14hr 08min 18sec, 2. Alberto Contador
(ESP/TIN) at 06sec, 3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 08, 4. Tejay Van Garderen
(USA/BMC) 12, 5. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 19, 6. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC)
19, 7. Davide Formolo (ITA/CAN) 21, 8. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 22, 9.
Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 22, 10. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 28
11. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 28, 13. Joaquim
Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 28, 21. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 32, 28. Esteban Chaves