On the first day of Ruta del Sol, Sacha Modolo suffered the worst ignominy imaginable for a sprinter — an early victory salute cost him the win. On Friday, EF Education First-Drapac’s new hire redeemed himself with a win on stage 3 in Herrera, Spain.

Movistar’s Carlos Barbero was second, and Nelson Andres Soto (Caja Rura-Seguros RGA) finished third in the 165.1km stage.

“The breakaway was small with only four riders. Joe Dombrowski kept the escape in check. He did a huge job, like on the first stage, to bring them back,” Modolo said.

After the final 90-degree, left-hand corner, 500 meters before the finish, Direct Energie was at the head of affairs to set up Thomas Boudat, the man who snatched stage 1 from Modolo at the line.

Then, Movistar’s lead-out man went to the front for Barbero.

However, Modolo had positioned himself perfectly in second wheel. When Movistar’s last man swung wide to open up the sprint, the Italian pounced and won convincingly in the straight drag to the line. It was his first victory of the season in his new, pink EF kit.

“The first day, having lost the race in the way that I did, I did not sleep at all in the night because of the pain I felt for the team,” Modolo added. “I’m so happy to give them the win today.”

Sky’s Wout Poels kept his overall lead after Friday’s sprint stage. He’ll have a more difficult challenge on Saturday as stage 4 features a big climb halfway through the 191.2km day, Puerto de las Palomas, which reaches 1,200 meters above sea level. The race could regroup on the long run to Alcalá de los Gazules after the climb, but there is a short kicker to the finish.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) trails in second overall, two seconds behind. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) is also in touch on GC, also two seconds down.

Top 10, stage 3

Top-10 overall