By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Euskatel-Euskadi rider David Etxebarria gave Spanish fans a home win in the third stage of the Tour of Valencia Thurday. The Spaniard won a sprint for the line at the end of the 149.5km stage between Denia and Benidorm. Extebarria outsprinted fellow Spaniard Aitor Gonzalez and an on-form Erik Dekker (Rabobank) to win from the lead group of seven with a time of 3:43:59.
Dekker’s teammate and fellow Dutchman Michael Boogerd, who won Tuesday’s first stage, holds the overall leader’s yellow jersey, ahead of Switzerland’s Fabian Jeker and Italian Leonardo Piepoli.
Thursday’s stage, featuring three category 1 climbs, was led from the outset by a breakaway group of eight riders headed by Pascual Llorente, Juan de los Angeles and Jesus Maria Manzano of the Kelme team. Kelme’s aggressiveness led to a tough challenge from the Rabobank team, led by Boogerd and Dekker, who was fresh from his Ruta del Sol win last week.
The leaders were caught 12km from the line, and a last minute surge by Gonzalez failed as the Kelme rider was caught just before the line by Etxebarria.
Friday’s grueling stage 4 will likely decide the race. Riders will face a 147.2km ride from Benidorm to the summit of the category 1 Campello hill, which they will have to climb twice.
TOUR OF VALENCIA, February 27-March 3. Spain.
1. David Extebarria (Sp), Euskatel-Euskadi, 149.5km in 3:43:59; 2. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp), same time; 3. Erik Dekker (Nl) s.t.; 4. Fabian Jeker (Swi) s.t.; 5. Juan de los Angeles (Sp), s.t.; 6. Leonardo Piepoli (I), s.t.; 7. Michael Boogerd (Nl) s.t.; 8. Koldo Gil (Sp), at 0:03; 9. Alexandre Vinokourov (Rus), at 0:31; 10. Marcus Zberg (Swi), s.t.
1. Boogerd, 11:11:05; 2. Jeker, same time; 3. Piepoli, s.t.; 4. Etxebarria, at 0:07; 5. Dekker, s.t.; 6. Gonzalez, s.t., 7. Juan de los Angeles (Sp), s.t.; 8. Koldo Gil (Sp), at 0:10; 9. Angel Edo (Sp), at 0:38; 10. Oscar Camenzind (Swi), s.t.