Lastras in luck at Vuelta
Spaniard rides into race lead
Last Updated: 25/08/11 10:42am
Lastras: Gambled and took a stunning victory after spending the day in the break
Pablo Lastras put in a brave attack to take an impressive solo victory on stage three of the Vuelta a Espana to move into the race lead.
The Movistar rider worked hard as part of the day's five-man break before attacking over the summit of the final climb, time trialling the final 12.4 kilometres into Totana.
Syvlain Chavanel (Quick Step) took the sprint for second from the remaining escapees after in-fighting saw their chances of closing down the Spaniard fall flat.
A depleted bunch crossed the line one minute and 43 seconds back after a tougher than expected third stage, with two third category climbs in the closing stages proving to be more selective than expected.
Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) won the sprint for fifth in a group that contained a number of overall contenders after another sweltering day in the saddle.
His first victory at the Vuelta since 2002 saw veteran Lastras move into a 20-second lead at the top of the standings from Chavanel who was left to rue a lack of cooperation from his counterparts.
Five men slipped away after 11km with Markel Irizar (RadioShack), Lastras, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Chavanel and Ruslan Pygornyy (Lampre) quickly building up an advantage.
The peloton appeared fairly nonplussed by the threat of the quintet who were allowed to build up an advantage of close to eight minutes.
Leopard Trek finally committed to their duties on the front of the bunch on behalf of overnight leader Daniele Bennati as the race moved toward the penultimate climb in an effort that saw Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) distanced.
Despite the efforts of the Luxembourg squad on the climb the break held firm and with no teams willing to help in the chase, it appeared the break would be allowed to go clear to the finish, crossing the line for the first time in Totana with a gap of 3:46.
It was Team Sky who then took up the chase, keeping team leader Bradley Wiggins out of trouble on the run to the final climb.
Lastras was the first man to blink and attacked over the top of the Alto de la Santa, taking the points and plunging down onto the descent.
Back in the bunch the overall contenders began to show themselves on the ascent as the peloton blew to pieces behind, cresting the summit in small groups, one of which included a distanced red jersey holder Bennati.
As the terrain flattened out Lastras fought it out with his three chasing rivals who self-destructed, the Spaniard holding firm to take an emotional win that also saw him claim the points and mountain classification jerseys..