French rider Alexandre Geniez of FDJ won today's stage, an absolute classic full of suffering, a brutal climb at the finish, a breakaway win and a Spaniard, Ruben Fernandez of Movistar, in the red jersey. That, and time gaps opening up between some of the GC contenders. Yes, the Vuelta is in full swing on Day 3 - the sprinters had their chance yesterday, but now we're into the fun stuff already.
The climb to the top of the Mirador de Ézaro provided the drama we were all hoping for. It's only a couple of km long but with sections reportedly as steep as 30% it sorted out the men from the boys. At the steepest section the organisers had laid the road with concrete instead of tarmac to give the riders more grip. Crowds, up to 10 deep, lined the narrow road to the top.
Earlier Swiss rider Simon Pellaud, put in a brave performance, going solo until he was caught on the penultimate climb. He was eventually dropped on the Mirador but one hopes his gutsy performance was noticed by pro teams looking for young talent next year as his team IAM folds at the end of this season.
Valverde looked strong on the final climb, as did Chaves. Froome put in a good performance, keeping up with the aggressive riding of Movistar. Quintana lost time on Froome however, as did Contador who didn't look his best. Poor old Kruijswiejk was well off the pace, a couple of minutes off the leaders.