10 Apr 2019
Valero and Ferreira battled for the stage until the last kilometer. The two pros raced together throughout the day they until they faced off on the final climb where the racer from Granada launched an attack that allowed him to solo the descent to Andújar and defend his lead. In the women's category, Fischer went for the stage win at kilometer 20; Hovdenak couldn’t sustain the chase. In this manner, the racer from Málaga became the winner of the day and the leader in the general classification.
The day began with a tight group in the men’s race who would go on to fight for the stage. Both Tiago Ferreira (DMT Racing Team by Marconi) and David Valero (MMR Factory Racing) controlled the group to make sure there would be no upsets. After a brief urban tour through the town of Andújar, the climbs soon began. It was a classic but hard stage that served as a transition day between the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba, with a new starting stretch along the fertile plain of the Guadalquivir River that crosses Marmolejo to connect with the La Centenera climb at which point they will have raced 70.1 km with 1,791 meters of elevation gain.
The men’s peloton was tightly grouped and commanded by the race leaders during the first several kilometers. Well aware of the technical roads and trails leading up to the Santuario de la Virgen de la Cabeza, nobody made any bold moves. In the women’s category, the fight for the top spot was exciting. The Norwegian Hildegunn Hovdenak (Nessetck) rode alone at the beginning. Chasing her at a razor-thin distance of 200 meters was the Málagan, Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing), who didn’t want to yield any advantages. After a brilliant attack by Fischer at kilometer 20 she escaped alone, finishing the La Centenera climb solo and defending first place on the descent. Yesterday’s third place, Lisette Rosenbeck (Holte MTB), rode comfortably in third in today’s stage and repeated her third place finish.
At mid-stage and same as yesterday, Ferreira and Valero were riding alone and in the lead. The pursuit group of Miguel Muñoz (BUFF®-Scott MTB), Luis Leao Pinto (BUFF®- Scott MTB), Víctor M. Fernández (Wolfbike), and Hans Becking (DMT Racing Team by Marconi) rode in chase with a gap of a little more than a minute.
The stage’s second half, which is one of the most memorable sections of the Andalucía Bike Race presented by Caja Rural Jaén showcased the Caracolillos descent, the El Madroño climb, and the final descent via Camino Viejo. The pursuit group tried to catch Valero and Ferreira on the sinuous, technical Los Caracolillos descent to do battle at the stage’s end. But both the Granadan and Portuguese racers went tirelessly for the stage win, followed only by José María Sánchez (BUFF®-Scott MTB). With only a few kilometers to go to the finish by way of technical terrain and favorable conditions, Valero punched the gas and managed to break free of Ferreira to arrive solo in Andújar and claim the lead in the general once more.
In the women's category Fischer was forced to maintain an intense pace. The Norwegian was right behind her and taking aim at the general classification. Same as in the previous edition, Fischer claimed the stage and took over the lead in the women's general.
Stage 3 Results Elite Men
1 David Valero (MMR Factory Racing) 02:49:07
2 Tiago Ferreira (DMT Racing Team by Marconi) 02:51:23
3 José María Sánchez (BUFF®- Scott MTB) 02:53:31
David Valero: “The stage start was very fast. At the beginning there was a group of seven or eight mountain bikers and, after the first climb, a little selection was made. A little later there was only Tiago and me, and we went together until the last climb. It was a decisive climb and then descent that enabled me to break free and gain distance in order to get a tighter grip on the leader's jersey."
Tiago Ferreira: "I think that David and I are the strongest in the race and we've done a great job. In the stage's last section, he rode stronger and escaped. I think that David is a worthy winner because he did a great job. From tomorrow on, the stages in Córdoba will be the most technical stages and we will have to be on alert."
José María Sánchez: “I didn’t feel good at the beginning of the stage and I lost about a minute and a half at kilometer 30 compared to the front of the race. Once we were in the technical section, which is where I'm most comfortable, I caught up with the group fighting for third place. I scored third place in the finishing sprint."
Stage 3 Results Elite Women
1 Natalia Fischer (MMR Factory Racing) 03:34:59
2 Hildegunn Hovdenak (Nessetck) 03:38:59
3 Lisette Rosenbeck (Holte MTB) 03:47:14
Natalia Fischer: "From the start I was second and trailing Hovdenak by about 200 meters. She was setting the pace and I was maintaining control so that she couldn’t escape. Once I passed the climb at kilometer 20, I knew there was a ten kilometer climb coming up and that it was now or never. So I launched an attack and the move went well. I felt great from the first moment and I was able to make time and become the leader. I'm very happy."
Hildegunn Hovdenak: "Today was a very hard day. I wasn't able to find my rhythm nor was I able to ride fast. All the time I was thinking about what I lost yesterday. It's been hard on the head and legs. I hope everything goes well in Córdoba with more agreeable weather. We'll see!".
Lisette Rosenbeck: "It was a very good stage; I liked it a lot. I knew the stage from last year. I started cautiously, but then, in the long climb after the first feed zone, I was able to “punch it" and the rest of the stage was amazing. The trails were really nice; I liked it a lot".
General ranking Elite Men
1 David Valero 07:00:28
2 Tiago Ferreira 07:04:24
3 Víctor Manuel Fernández 07:11:30
4José María Sánchez 07:11:58
5 Hans Becking 07:16:07
General ranking Elite Women
1 Natalia Fischer 08:51:23
2 Hildegunn Hovdenak 08:53:31
3 Lisette Rosenbeck 09:08:35
4 Emmy Thelperg 09:19:22
5 Sandra Backman 09: 39:30
Tomorrow, starting from Villafranca de Córdoba
The fourth stage travels to the province of Córdoba, where it will start from Villafranca de Córdoba, a town that hosted the start of the 2017 Andalucía Bike Race. The 53.4-kilometer stage with 1,346 meters of elevation gain has been completely redesigned and will head out from the vicinity of the San Rafael de Navallana reservoir. The steep roads will contrast with the lushness of the trails of the Sierra Morena, where much of the stage takes place with fun stretches and spectacular scenery.
18 Apr 2019
13 Apr 2019