Volta a Catalunya: Alejandro Valverde wins stage three, Geraint Thomas into third

Movistar's Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde (R) celebrates as he crosses first the finish line followed by Quick Step Floors' Irish rider Daniel Martin
Valverde won the mountainous stage three in a little over five hours

Spain's Alejandro Valverde responded to losing the lead of the Volta a Catalunya because of a team penalty by winning the third stage on Wednesday.

Valverde had topped the standings after Movistar won Tuesday's time trial, only for officials to broaden an initial penalty to team-mate Jose Joaquin Rojas across the whole team.

Valverde then outsprinted Ireland's Daniel Martin to win stage three.

He moves to fourth overall, behind Team Sky's Geraint Thomas in third.

Sky's Chris Froome was dropped in the finale and lies in fifth place, 49 seconds back, with fellow Briton Adam Yates of Orica in eighth after finishing third in the mountainous 188.3km stage from Mataro to La Molina.

Welshman Thomas came sixth and is 44 seconds behind new leader Tejay van Garderen of the US.

Samuel Sanchez of Spain is in second place, 41 seconds behind his BMC Racing team-mate Van Garderen.

Geraint Thomas (R) and Chris Froome
Thomas (right) and Chris Froome (second right) moved up the standings on day three

"It was a little bit of a shock to the system," said Froome.

"It's the first mountain stage I've done at a WorldTour race since the Vuelta last year but it's good, that's why I'm here, I'm here to suffer this week - to gain from hard racing and soak it all up.

"As a team we're in a good place. We did a strong team time trial yesterday, but we've still got quite a bit of time to make up on the BMC guys."

Valverde had finished at the head of the general classification after Movistar's impressive time trial, but Rojas was initially penalised three minutes for pushing by a team-mate.

Following a protest from other teams, the penalty was then widened to 60 seconds for each of the remaining Movistar riders, including Valverde.

"The Movistar team wants to express its complete disagreement towards the sanction received," the Spanish team said in a statement.

"It's a penalty due to an infringement which we consider absolutely non-existent."

Stage Three result:

1. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) 5 hours 7 minutes 12 seconds

2. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Quick-Step) Same time

3. Adam Yates (Britain / Orica) +3 seconds

4. Romain Bardet (France / AG2R) Same time

5. Ilnur Zakarin (Russia / Katusha) Same time

6. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky) Same time

7. Alberto Contador (Spain / Trek) Same time

8. Tejay van Garderen (U.S. / BMC Racing) Same time

9. Michael Woods (Canada / Cannondale) +8 seconds

10. Davide Formolo (Italy / Cannondale) Same time

General classification:

1. Tejay van Garderen (U.S. / BMC Racing) 10 hours 24 minutes 33 seconds

2. Samuel Sanchez (Spain / BMC Racing) +41 seconds

3. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky) +44 seconds

4. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) +45 seconds

5. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) +49 seconds

6. Marc Soler (Spain / Movistar) +1:10 seconds

7. Alberto Contador (Spain / Trek) +1:13 seconds

8. Adam Yates (Britain / Orica) +1:18 seconds

9. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands / Trek) +1:25 seconds

10. Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia / Trek) Same time

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