The world’s top cycling contenders have begun working their way through La Vuelta 2013. This gruelling Spanish tour is an exciting alternative to the Tour de France and is sure to be defined by major drama along the challenging route.
La Vuelta's next stage will take place between Vigo and Mirador de Lobeira/Vilagarcía de Arousa. With another 18 stages to occur after the third day, this is an early opportunity for current leaders to separate themselves from the pack.
Let's take a look at Stage 3's details, route and major talking points.
Where: Mirador de Loberia/Vilagarcía de Arousa, Spain
When: Aug. 25
Watch: NBC Universal Sports Network
Live Stream: Universal Sports Network LIVE
Stage 3 Preview
One of La Vuelta's stranger routes, Stage 3 features an extremely smooth 172.5-kilometer stretch before spiking painfully at the end. This flat section plays host to a sharp ascent and has the capacity to burn energy rapidly in the latter moments.
It's a route of stark contrasts. Riders will find their early coastline work pretty comfortable and the perfect opportunity to save power for the last sprint. Although littered with continuous ups and downs, it's not the kind of course that poses a daunting physical battle like the Mirador de Ezaro. Instead, a tactical battle should ensue.
Weight is likely to be a factor in this one. Riders such as Alejandro Valverde can utilise their heavier frames to produce frightening power as the mainland ascent begins. It is likely the front group will stick together for the majority of the stage, but by the closing section, it's difficult to bet overlook Valverde for victory.
As reported by John MacLeary of the Telegraph, it was Nicholas Roche who claimed a stunning victory in Stage 2. This was the 29-year-old's first ever stage win on the grand tour and rounded off an exceptional year for Irish cycling, which has seen Martin Irvine and Dan Martin score impressive triumphs.
Roche's time of four hours, 37 minutes and nine seconds was marginally quicker than Daniel Moreno, who was denied a stage win on his own turf. The pack stayed remarkably close to the race's conclusion with 10 competitors heading to the finish line within 14 seconds of each other, but Roche maintained his momentum to take the plaudits.
Will he be able to carry this form into the remainder of the competition? Can this boost see the 29-year-old head for ultimate glory? His chances should become a little clearer during Stage 3.