Viviani wins Vuelta stage, Kwiatkowski keeps overall lead
ALHAURIN DE LA TORRE, Spain (AP) — Italian rider Elia Viviani won the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Monday, with Michal Kwiatkowski keeping the leader’s red jersey ahead of Alejandro Valverde.
Viviani dominated the final sprint and beat countryman Giacomo Nizzolo and Peter Sagan of Slovakia to the line in a stage that produced no major changes in the overall standings.
Kwiatkowski remained 14 seconds in front of Valverde, the stage winner on Sunday. Wilco Kelderman stayed third overall, 25 seconds off the lead.
“I’m so happy to have the jersey for another day,” said Kwiatkowski, who is leading Team Sky in the absence of 2017 Vuelta champion Chris Froome. “Tomorrow is going to be a hard one. We’ll need to be very smart on the final climb.”
Stage 4 on Tuesday is a 161.4-kilometer (100.3-mile) route with a difficult final climb into Alfacar.
Monday’s stage took riders 178.2 kilometers through a mountainous ride from Mijas to Alhaurin de la Torre.
“It was beautiful,” said Quick-Step Floors rider Viviani. “It’s difficult to control stages like that, but we really wanted it. All day we went for one goal, to win a stage in La Vuelta. We didn’t know if we could win or not, because there were 3,000 meters of ascent. It’s not an easy sprint.”
The Italian champion had never won a Vuelta stage, twice finishing second.