Paris (AFP)

Green day on the Tour of Spain: Irishman Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe) won the sprint on Monday in Alicante (southeast) during the 3rd stage of the Vuelta, while his compatriot Nicolas Roche (Sunweb ) keeps the red jersey.

At the end of 188 km between Ibi Alicante, the Irish champion easily beat the Belgian Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and the Slovenian Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott), thus signing his first victory on the Vuelta and his fourth in a Grand Tour, after his three successes on the Giro-2018.

"I'm thrilled to have won, which means a lot to win a stage on a big Tour, especially with my national champion jersey," said Bennett, "and the team positioned me in the right place at the right time. the effort of the team, I would never have done it. "

"I felt so bad yesterday (Sunday), I can not tell you how bad my legs hurt," he added.

Bennett started his sprint and dropped Theuns 200m from the finish, then Mezgec got rid of Jon Aberasturi (Caja Rural) and Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida) to take 3rd place.

- Gaviria drifting -

With 25 points, the winner of the day joins at the top of the ranking of the best sprinters a ... climber, the Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who had endorsed the green jersey the day before thanks to his surprise victory in Calpe.

Another Irishman in the spotlight, Nicolas Roche donned the red leader's overall jersey for the second day in a row, two seconds ahead of Quintana and eight over another Colombian, Rigoberto Uran (Education First).

If Bennett held his rank of favorite on Monday, it was not the case of Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep), still less of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates).

The two riders suffered a first attack from Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) at the foot of Puerto de Tibi, the last difficulty of the day 45 km from the finish, then an acceleration of the peloton led by Jumbo-Visma- who had rolled quietly there, leaving Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) to consolidate his jersey of best climber within a breakaway of three Spaniards, left the first kilometer and resumed 36 km from the line.

If Jakobsen finally rejoined the peloton and finished 7th, Gaviria could not come back: finally dropped 11 km from the finish, he arrived with more than 4 minutes behind Bennett.

On Tuesday, the runners will go up the east coast during a fourth stage of 175.5 km between Cullera and El Puig, which should once again smile to the sprinters, before a day more mountainous Wednesday.

© 2019 AFP