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Martin stays in GC contention

Posted 09 April 2010

Garmin Transitions rider Dan Martin is still in contention for the overall GC at the Tour of the Basque Country despite slipping a few places to 17th position after Stage 3.

The Irishman is just 3 seconds behind new race leader Oscar Freire (Rabobank) whose second place finish was enough to take the yellow jersey from Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epagne) by a slender 2 seconds.

The top 23 riders in GC are now all within 3 seconds of Freire while anyone else hoping for overall honours will have to bridge a deficit of 1.40 or more during the remaining three stages.

The stage to Amurrio was dominated by heavy rain showers, a six-man break-away and the sprinters who had their day after 187 kilometres of racing.

The six man group of Michael Albasini (HTC Columbia), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Remy Di Gregorio (Francise Des Jeux), Iban Mayoz (Footon-Servetto) and Egoi Martinez and Alan Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) went clear after just 18 kilometres on the second category Alto de la Aldea.

Their lead reached 4 minutes at one point and hovered at that mark as they crested the category three Alto de Azareta at 60 kilometres and the Alto de Zarate at 120 kilometres.

Some strong riding by the Caisse d’Epagne and Rabobank teams cut the advantage to little over a minute over the final climb of  the Alto de Mendeika and with 15 kilometres remaining Perez and Mayoz were no longer part of the lead group.

The race regrouped with 3 kilometres to go and Gavazzi proved too strong for Freire in a tight sprint finish. Martin was consistent in finishing with the first group placing 70th, while the remaining half of the peloton lost close to a minute or more.

Results

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Spain (ProTour)

April 7, Stage 3: Viana – Amurrio, 187kms

1. Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) 4 hours, 49 mins, 52 secs.
2. Óscar Freire (Rabobank) same time
3. Peter Velits (Team HTC - Columbia) same time.

70. Dan Martin (Garmin - Transitions) at 2 secs.

General classification after Stage 3:

1. Óscar Freire (Rabobank) 14 hours, 41 mins, 30 secs.
2. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) at 2 secs.
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Transitions) at 3 secs.

17. Daniel Martin (Garmin - Transitions) at 3 secs.

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