58ª Vuelta a Navarra
Stage 3: Pamplona – Tafalla (139 km)

The Vuelta a Navarra arrives this Saturday in the Pyrenees. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Muskilda in Ochagavia awaits a race that will start from Tafalla and will propose, as happened in the last edition, a very demanding route where there is no lack until an unpaved ascent. The very young Álex Martín is the Kometa Cycling Team’s only trump card for the general classification. The Catalan cyclist from the Alberto Contador Foundation, a debutant in the category, was the only survivor of the team on this Friday’s demanding course. In the stage the Andalusian Carmelo Urbano won, the Colombian Camilo Andrés Pulido became the new leader of the race and Martín, twenty-first, is fifteenth to nine seconds of a hypothetical leadership.

Fifth in the general classification at the start, the Italian Alessandro Fancellu was out of the game as a result of a chain of misfortunes that prevented him from riding in the leading group of a stage where no truce was given to the escapes. A couple of mechanical breakdowns forced him to change bikes both in the first and second ascent of the day, with the consequent heat. The auction came with an inopportune puncture that took place just after reintegrase in the discipline of that leading group. Fancellu was relegated to a group where he would ride accompanied by Yago Segovia and Arturo Grávalos, a group that crossed the finish line at 10:34.

It was not a day for breaks. It was a day with multiple interests. The beginning of the stage was fast and the attempts, many. Joan Martí Bennassar joined one of the first and most numerous attempts. His Italian colleague Alessio Acco also tried it. But on the way up to Guembe that escape was already history. Until Guirguillano, the last of the Friday climbs, the general tone was that of a group of about thirty units that led the test. In the ramps of this ‘first’ six cyclists would stand out, finally five, in the fight for victory four, that would end up playing the partial success in the streets of Tafalla with nine seconds of margin on the first group of illustrious. It could not finish the Galician Alejandro Regueiro, sick, with a bad night on the eve.

“The day started well, with two runners in a group of seven cyclists. But that escape ended soon and more attacks began to follow. That’s when our odyssey began, concretised in Fancellu with a change of bike in the hardest port, a new change of bike five kilometres later and, when I had finally returned to the group, a puncture in the front wheel. There were three riders waiting for him, but we couldn’t do anything. In the main group Álex remained, who is walking a lot. Our options for the general one are to try some adventure, although not very far either, as it would be crazy in such a long stage and with a high finish. In addition, a race that will be very controlled,” says Rafa Diaz Justo, director of the formation.

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

📸 Martin Early

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