MADRID (Reuters) – Elia Viviani sprinted to victory in stage three of the Vuelta a Espana on Monday, holding off Italian compatriot Giacomo Nizzolo, as Michal Kwiatkowski retained the red jersey.
Quick-Step Floors rider Viviani recorded victory in what was the 1,500th stage in the race’s history, after being launched by team mate Michael Morkov in a chaotic finale at frantic pace.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan took third behind Trek-Segafredo’s Nizzolo with French rider Nacer Bouhanni in fourth.
“It was beautiful, I have no words, again, for the team,” said Viviani, who won his first stage in four hours 48 minutes and 12 seconds.
“We did not know if we would win or not because with 3,000 metres of elevation gain it is not an easy sprint, but the Vuelta’s always like that. I’m really happy, this wonderful season continues.”
Viviani has won 15 stages this season after leaving Team Sky for Quick-Step, including four at the Giro d’Italia.
Poland’s Kwiatkowski, of Team Sky, kept the red jersey after taking it from Rohan Dennis on Sunday, with an overall time of nine hours 10 minutes and 52 seconds, while Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde trails him by 14 seconds.
Tuesday’s stage four sees riders travel 162 kilometres from Velez, Malaga to Alfacar’s Sierra de la Alfaguara, another medium mountain stage.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma, editing by Ed Osmond)