Cycling

Molano claims second straight Tour Colombia stage

Egan Bernal (Getty Images)
Egan Bernal (Getty Images)

Sogamoso - Sprinter Juan Sebastian Molano won his second successive stage at the Tour Colombia on Thursday as Tour de France champion Egan Bernal finished safely in the peloton.

UAE Team Emirates' Molano beat compatriots Edwin Avila and Alvaro Hodeg into second and third at the end of the 178km stage from Paipa to Sogamoso at an average altitude of 2 600m.

Ecuador's Jonathan Caicedo retained the leader's orange jersey after finishing in the pack.

It was a ninth victory already this year for UAE.

"The team has a lot of faith in me and the truth is we never had any doubts," said Molano, who moved up to fifth in the overall standings thanks to a time bonus for winning the stage.

"I tried to launch my sprint as close to the line as possible, not so far out like yesterday because these stages ... are tough," the 25-year-old Colombian told ESPN.

Molano also won Wednesday's 152km stage two in another sprint finish.

Caicedo remains atop the overall standings with three team-mates level with him on time - Colombians Sergio Higuita and Daniel Martinez, who are expected to challenge for the final victory, and American Tejay van Garderen.

Their American EF Pro Cycling squad won Tuesday's opening team time-trial.

But having lost 46 seconds on the opening stage, Bernal's Team Ineos tried to spring a surprise on Thursday, sending Sebastian Henao into the day's break.

That was caught 16km from the finish but then Ecuadoran Giro d'Italia champion Richard Carapaz tried to steal a march on the sprinters by launching a solo attack one kilometre from the finish.

"Tomorrow we'll be more vigilant that such escapes don't happen," said Caicedo.

Friday's fourth stage from Paipa to Santa Rosa de Viterbo covers 168km and ends with a third category climb, meaning the overall contenders should come to the fore.

The entire six-day tour is raced at above 2 500m with Sunday's finale ending on the climb to the Puerto de El Verjon at 3 290m.

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
46% - 3441 votes
Cricket
11% - 816 votes
Football
18% - 1332 votes
Athletics
2% - 145 votes
Boxing
1% - 61 votes
Cycling
2% - 158 votes
Golf
5% - 375 votes
Motorsport
7% - 543 votes
Tennis
3% - 232 votes
Water sports
1% - 63 votes
American sports
1% - 57 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 193 votes
Vote