Michal Kwiatkowski rounded off an attacking Team Sky performance with a third place finish on stage three of Pais Vasco.
Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) won a bunch sprint ahead of Alexandr Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates) and Kwiatkowski after the Polish rider had played a pivotal role in illuminating the stage.
‘Kwiato’ and David De La Cruz became the second and third Team Sky riders to attack the race in a brave two-man breakaway with following Pavel Sivakov’s earlier effort when he escaped with seven other riders.
And while De La Cruz was still pushing with Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) until just two kilometers to go, he was eventually snapped up by the peloton, where Kwiatkowski was led to a strong position by Tao Geoghegan Hart to sprint to third.
Earlier, Sivakov had managed to join a break with seven other riders, including getaway specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Benjamin King (Dimension Data), Brendan Canty (EF Education First-Drapac), Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin), Jon Irisarri (Caja Rural), Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias) and Juul-Jensen.
The group worked well together and managed to get a lead of nearly five minutes at its zenith, only to see members dwindle slowly as the kilometres passed, with Team Sky joining the front of the peloton to bridge the gap as Sivakov moved back.
Juul-Jensen and De Gendt remained out in front as a pair until Kwiatkowski and De La Cruz powered to them with under 20km to go, briefly working together as a quartet before De La Cruz and the Mitchelton-Scott rider went clear, but were unrewarded for their efforts.