Bettini Wins Stage 3 of Vuelta
Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) has won Stage 3 of the Vuelta. The reigning world champion, who was runnerup to three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) in Stage 2, turned the tables on the Spaniard in a bunch sprint to win the rolling, 153-km run from Viveiro to Luarca in 4:08:42. Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) finished third, and Freire remains the overall leader.
The break of the day occurred early. At three km, David De la Fuente (Saunier Duval), Angel Vallejo (Relax), and Serafin Martinez (Karpin) escaped. At 55 km, they led by 3:20.
The bunch gnawed away at the break's advantage. The lead shrank to 2:04 at 104 km. Martinez was dropped, and the peloton picked him up with 33 km left. The two leaders were only 0:28 ahead of the field.
On the descent of the Alto de Bobia, the peloton caught the escapees. Euskaltel pressed the pace, and the peloton split but regrouped. The uphill sprint split the bunch again, and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Davis, and Freire began the final sprint. Just before the finish line, Bettini jumped Freire for the win.
In the overall, Freire leads Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) and Erik Zabel (Milram). Stage 4 will change the standings. The 185.1-km ride from Langreo to Lagos de Covadonga will feature a 12.6-km hors categorie finishing climb. Expect the pure climbers and the GC contenders to show their faces. Who will win? Who will take the overall lead? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!