Vuelta a Espana: Taaramae wins gruelling third stage to take race lead from Roglic

By Sports Desk August 16, 2021

Rein Taaramae claimed a surprise victory on stage three of the Vuelta a Espana atop Picon Blanco to take the red jersey from Primoz Roglic.

Monday's demanding 202.8 kilometer route saw the first summit finish and Taaramae, whose only stage win at the race came in 2011, saw off some strong climbers to come out on top.

The 34-year-old finished 21 seconds ahead of Joe Dombrowski and Kenny Elissonde was a further 15 seconds back in third as the general classification standings were shaken up.

Previous race leader Roglic drops to third overall after finishing seventh on Monday, 30 seconds behind Taaramae, who is 25 seconds better off than the second-placed Elissonde.

Taaramae is the first Estonian to secure the red jersey after getting the better of an eight-man breakaway. Dombrowski and Lilian Calmejane, who eventually came fourth, took it in turn to attack but Taaramae had the legs to see the job through.

Hugh Carthy, who finished third in this event last year, lost 21 seconds on favourite Roglic, while Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz is over two minute adrift of the new leader after failing to keep up with the chasing pack.

"Yesterday evening me and my team spoke about winning this stage and taking the leader's jersey," Taaramae said. "I believed in myself today because I'm in a good state. 

"Today was all about whether the peloton would catch us or not. When I saw that we could do it then I had questions about how good Joe Dombrowski and Kenny Elissonde

"They are all good riders but Joe and Kenny are really good so I don't know if I can beat them, but I believed it because I already did it many times.

"Red is a big achievement because I'm 34 and I don't have many years left to try to do this. I have a stage in the Vuelta and Giro but I dream a lot about a leader's jersey in a Grand Tour – at least for a few days."

STAGE RESULT

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 05:16:57 
2. Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) +0:21
3. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) +0:36
4. Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroen Team) +1:16
5. Enric Mas (Movistar) +01.45

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 09:25:44
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) +0:25
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:30

Points Classification

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 50
3. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) 50

King of the Mountains

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 10
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) 7
3. Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) 6

What's next?

Tuesday's stage spans 163.9km from El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragon and will once again favour the sprinters.

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