March 22, 2017 / 4:43 PM / 2 years ago

Cycling: Valverde bounces back with stage 3 win in Catalonia

(Reuters) - Alejandro Valverde bounced back from the disappointment of losing the overall lead in the Tour of Catalonia overnight by winning the third stage at the top of La Molina on Wednesday.

The Spaniard and his Movistar team mates were handed a one-minute penalty after race commissaires ruled that one of them had been illegally pushed by another during the team time trial on Tuesday.

Valverde jumped ahead of a group of leading riders in the final climb on Wednesday to beat Ireland’s Dan Martin (Quick Step Floors), with Briton Adam Yates (Orica Scott) coming home in third position.

American Tejay van Garderen, who ended the stage in eighth place, took the overall leader’s jersey from his BMC team mate Ben Hermans after the Belgian failed to sustain the pace in the last climb, a 5.6 km ascent at an average 5.6 percent gradient.

Van Garderen leads team mate Samuel Sanchez of Spain by 41 seconds, with Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas three seconds further back in third after the Briton finished in the leading pack with Tour de France runner-up Romain Bardet of France and Spain’s Alberto Contador.

Britain’s Tour champion Chris Froome, who is short of racing miles after taking a six-week break, was dropped in the finale, losing five seconds to Thomas, Bardet and Contador.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris

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