Australian Matthews takes Vuelta lead

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Australian Matthews takes Vuelta lead

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Australian Michael Matthews took control of the Vuelta a Espana on Monday after a stage three victory moved him into the leader’s red jersey.

The stage was a rolling 197.8 kilometres trek from Cádiz to Arcos de la Frontera.

Ten kilometres in five men burst out in front for the break of the day.

With 46km to the line the group had been whittled down to one but the writing was on the wall as the peloton picked up the pace.

With 25 kilometres remaining the job was done and despite a few last gasp attempts at a break for victory all were together again for the sprint finish.

Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin of Ireland tried his luck with 200 metres to go but Orica Greenedge rider Matthews was in a league of his own as he blasted past for top honours.

A frustrated Martin took the second step of the podium while Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez celebrated third place.

Matthews now holds a slender four second lead over Giro D’Italia winner Nairo Quintana of Colombia with 2009 champion Alejandro Valverde third at 11 seconds.