Guachochi, Mexico — Rock Racing’s Oscar Sevilla put himself in prime position to win the Vuelta a Chihuahua Wednesday by powering a four-man breakaway on Stage 3 that finished more than four minutes ahead of the fifth-placed rider and left half the field a whopping 24 minutes behind.
Sevilla is the new race leader, three seconds ahead of 2009 UCI Americas Tour champion Gregario Ladino (Tecos Trek), who finished second overall at this race a year ago. The two were joined in the decisive break by Dario Cioni (ISD) and stage winner Rui Costa (Caisse d’Epargne). The four escaped about halfway through the 94-mile (152 km) race from Creel to Guanchochi.
American Matt Busche (Kelly Benefit Strategies) finished alone in fifth, 4:22 behind, while Rock Racing’s Francisco Mancebo won the field sprint for sixth, 7:34 after Sevilla’s group. Mancebo, who has won the past two editions of this race, will now be working to defend the lime green leader’s jersey that Sevilla will wear for Stage 4.
“I didn’t think we’d gain so much time, especially with only me and the ISD rider (Cioni) working,” Sevilla said after finishing third on the stage. “So it was a good reward for a maximum effort. I think Rock Racing is definitely strong enough to defend the jersey.”
Rock Racing not only leads the team classification, but it will also be defending the red sprint leader’s jersey worn by David Vitoria. He figured prominently in breakaways on Stages 1 and 2.
Rock Racing’s Glen Chadwick, who was part of a seven-man move early in Wednesday’s race, said the stage may not have been long, but it was certainly not easy.
“We did more than 3,000 meters of vertical climbing today and the wind has been a pain in the butt,” Chadwick said. “Every day, it seems like we’re riding into it or it is hitting us from the sides.”
Thursday’s stage is the longest of the race – 119 miles (192 km) – from Guachochi to Parral. It includes two categorized climbs and three sprints.