The first mountain stage of the 2017 Vuelta a España ended with Vincenzo Nibali arriving at the lead group with his chase group at the last minute before going on to take the victory. "Everybody pulled together. It was really beautiful coming into the finish".
Spain's Contador, a three-time winner of his home tour, finished 2:33 behind. Peter Stetina helped too, but Contador told them to think for themselves. "Obviously we're going to do everything we can to protect it now".
"I hope that is only a bad day, maybe because the lack of competition".
As of Monday, the serious things will begin with a first step of mountain between Prades (Eastern Pyrenees) and Andorra (158,5 km).
It was a fairly uneventful stage with little happening other than a couple of minor spills in the bunch.
Marc Fournier of France became the fifth rider to retire.
"I want to enjoy this Vuelta in any case", he added. I'm not too worried about GC on this year's grand tour. The Team Sky rider crossed in 16th " eight seconds behind Lampaert " and moved up to ninth overall, 21 seconds back. Juan Jose Lobato (LottoNL-Jumbo) 3. Russian Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) lost 54 seconds.
Froome appears ready to fight.
Nibali is one of the few contenders who missed the Tour de France and looked to have the fresher legs as he headed a nine-man group to the line.
Froome's race experience was on full show as he put his foot down to claim three bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint, with Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) initially the only rider to go with him. On the descent, the favourites descended like stones and would not be seen again. "This cold must disappear".
"We are not removing the ladies from the podium, but what we are doing is introducing a male host, we will combine a man and woman in an alternative way".
Froome recalled his 2011 performance when explaining why he had pushed so hard in stage three.
"[Stage 3] didn't end up being such a good day", Kelderman said. They were absorbed over the 16 kilometres of descending that followed before the last climb of the day, the Alto de la Comella.
Frenchman Axel Domont took a 25-second lead over the escapees and a 4:40 lead over the peloton into the final 50km but his advantage rapidly eroded in the second climb.