Ruta del Sol: Gerald Ciolek wins stage three as Alejandro Valverde retains overall lead
Gerald Ciolek won stage three of the Ruta del Sol as Alejandro Valverde retained his overall lead.
Last Updated: 22/02/14 5:35pm
Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) was one of four riders who reached the finish line in Sevilla at almost the same time but was handed the victory by the narrowest of margins ahead of Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) in second and Moreno Hofland (Belkin) in third.
The closing stages of the day were marred when a crash 2.9km out wiped out or held up half of the peloton, but Valverde managed to avoid the carnage to consolidate his 20-second advantage at the top of the general classification with one stage remaining.
The Spaniard is looking for a third consecutive overall victory at the race and put himself in pole position to do so by winning the prologue and opening two stages.
Britons Sir Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas played a prominent role in the last 5km as they looked to set up Team Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen for the sprint, but the Norwegian could only finish seventh.
- Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) won the opening stage of the Tour du Haut Var in France. John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) was second and Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale) third. The race concludes with Sunday's second stage.
Ruta del Sol stage three result
1 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka, 4:17:39
2 Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, same time
3 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin, st
4 Niklas Arndt (Ger) Giant-Shimano, st
5 Tom van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, st
6 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol, st
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky, st
8 Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing, st
9 Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, st
10 Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, st
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, 14:37:51
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, +20secs
3 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, +22
4 Jon Izagirre (Spa) Movistar, +33
5 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana, +43
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, +44
7 Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, +51
8 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, +55
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana, +1:02
10 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, +1:24
12 Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky, +1:30
71 Sir Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +16:18