Columbia-HTC’s Greg Henderson of New Zealand powered to victory in the bunch sprint that decided stage three of the Vuelta a Espane. Henderson was the fastest in the 189.9-kilometre stage running from Zutphen to Venlo in Holland, outsprinting Borut Bozic of Slovenia and Spain’s Oscar Freire.
“My primary aim here in the Vuelta is to get [teammate] Andre Greipel across the line first,” Henderson said. “But today was my day just because it got mixed up with 500 or 600 metres to go. I opened up my sprint with about 150 metres to go and ended up winning the stage quite easily. In any case, it’s a long Tour yet and there?ll be plenty more sprint stages.”
Henderson’s victory is the 73rd of the season for Columbia-HTC men’s team and 13th in a major Tour this season. Columbia-HTC has now claimed wins in all three top stage races in 2009.
“If you look through the record books you’ll see a number of different Columbia-HTC riders up there with the wins,” added Henderson. “We all work for one another, and we all get our chance to win.”
Boonen Misses Stage Win
Boom, Hoogerland and Rosendo escaped early in the stage and took a maximum lead of almost 10 minutes. The sprinter teams took command then and closed the gap. Boom and Hoogerland were caught with 30 kilometres to go. Rosendo tried his best, but was caught 12 kilometres for the line. Our team did some part of the chase, with Kevin de Weert and Maarten Wynants doing a lot of work.
In the final kilometres Vacansoleil took over from our riders, which made the sprint a little chaotic. Boonen had to close a gap before he could really do his sprint, which minimized his chances on a stage win. Boonen ended in 6th, but keeps his points jersey. Wouter Weylandt ended in 8th place.