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Sam Bennett wins Vuelta Stage 3, Nicolas Roche keeps overall lead

Big day for Irish riders at the Spanish Grand Tour

Sam Bennett  of Bora -Hansgrohe has won Stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana in Alicante this afternoon, and on a day to remember for Irish cycling fans, Team Sunweb's Nicolas Roche retains the race leader's red jersey.

Irish national champion Bennett – a three-time Grand Tour stage winner at last year’s Giro d’Italia – opened his account in the Spanish race by convincingly beating Trek-Segafredo’s Edward Theuns and Luka Mezgec of Mitchelton-Scott to the line.

Missing from the sprint battle at the end of the 188-kilometre stage from Ciudad del Juguete was UAE Team Emirates rider Fernando Gaviria – who with a win over the next three weeks would become the 99th rider to win stages at all three Grand Tours – but is suffering the after-effects of a crash on Saturday’s team time trial.

Tomorrow's fourth stage of the race covers 175.5 kilometres from Cullera to El Puig, near Valencia, and should give another chance to the sprinters, with Bennett looking to take the points jersey off Movistar's Nairo Quintana, winner of yesterday's Stage 2.

The pair each have 25 points, but the Colombian keeps the jersey ahead of the Irishman on countback.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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