The Vuelta Espana, the third and final grand tour of the men's 2021 season is underway!
The field is always a strong one as all 19 UCI world teams must enter. But this year sees several teams stacked with GC contenders.
Such as Ineos with Bernal, Carapaz and Yates all potentially in with a shout.
Movistar are similar with Mas and Lopez riding well and both top GC contenders. Plus Valverde!
The tour started on Saturday with a 7.1km time trial that saw Primoz Roglic take to the road last and take the win by 6 seconds and move straight into the lead.
Stage 2 was a sprint and the Belgian rider Jasper Philipsen from Alpecin Fenix managed to beat Fabio Jakobsen to the line by half a wheel. Roglic remained in red.
Stage 3 was the second-longest stage of this year's event and saw the first climbing of the tour, climaxing in a gruelling ascent of the Picon Blanco and the stage finish. It is a climb that features rarely in Grand Tour events, the last time was in the Tour de Burgos 5 years ago.
The Estonian, Rein Taaramae from Intermarche - Wanty - Gobert Material became the first rider to win a Vuelta stage atop of this mountain and claimed the red jersey. A popular winner and at 34 yrs old, he probably didn’t think this day would come, especially as his last and only win in the Vuelta was 10 years ago.
Rein managed to get into the break-away and they held off the peloton. There were some attacks in the last 5kms with Elissonde and Dombrowski looking to put on the pressure. But eventually, it was Taaramae who fought off the attacks and rode clear finishing 21 seconds ahead of the American Dombrowski and Kenny Elissonde was 31 seconds back.
Roglic came in 7th and remains in a good position in the GC standings. Carapaz lost some time and Yates came in 8th on the stage and is now behind Bernal for Ineos.
Tom Pidcock, continues to impress, swapping out disciplines and gaining some good Grand Tour experience after his epic achievement at the Olympics.
Apparently today's stage 4 finishes in the coldest part of Spain !!
And we fancy Michael Mathews for the win today . . .