Belfast Telegraph

Froome is happy to play it safe as team-mate Poels retains his lead

By Matt Slater

Chris Froome finished safely in the pack and his Team Sky team-mate Wout Poels retained the leader's red jersey after a relatively uneventful third stage on Spain's Ruta del Sol yesterday.

Four-time Tour de France champion Froome has said he is not in peak condition for his first race of the season and the team would be riding in support of Poels' victory chances.

EDF Education First-Drapac's Sacha Modolo beat Movistar's Carlos Barbero by a bike-length, with Nelson Soto of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA third.

Poels still leads by two seconds from Astana's Luis Leon Sanchez and Lotto Soudal's Tim Wellens.

With today's fourth stage likely to be another bunch finish, the five-day race will be settled in a 14.2km time trial around Barbate tomorrow.

While Froome is excellent against the clock, at 27 seconds behind Poels he is probably too far back to challenge.

Failing to win here might be a blessing for the 32-year-old British star as he is riding under the cloud cast by his adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug Salbutamol at the Vuelta a Espana last September.

Froome has denied any wrongdoing and he has not yet been charged with an anti-doping rule violation. But his refusal to suspend himself while the case is being considered has split the sport, with many saying he should not be racing.

Belfast Telegraph

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