Bridging across to the breakaway on the opening climb, Chris Hamilton fought through the crosswind chaos and up the final climb to take a strong third place finish on stage nine at the Vuelta.
Leaving the town of Cartagena this afternoon, strong winds were howling and the peloton immediately split into pieces with a GC group forming at the front. A formidable opening hour saw 50 kilometres covered before things regrouped and a break of six managed to go clear. With no Team dsm-firmenich rider in the move, Chris Hamilton launched a counter attack when the gap was at least 30 seconds. Riding brilliantly, Hamilton managed to bridge to the break and would soon be joined by another; making an eight rider move out front. Their advantage steadily grew and reached eight minutes with 80 kilometres to go.
However, another extended crosswind section saw the peloton split to pieces behind once more and the gap to the break was halved in less than 20 kilometres. Yet, the road changed direction and eventually the pace eased off in the peloton; ensuring that Hamilton’s group would fight it out for the win. Trying to split things from the bottom of the climb, Hamilton put in an attack and was able to draw a group of four clear but the pace remained high and Kämna would launch his stage winning move. Riding at his own tempo and feeling the effects of his earlier solo efforts to bridge to the break, some bad luck with a puncture on the muddy and dirty roads saw Hamilton have to change bike. Nevertheless, he continued to fight all the way to the finish to take a strong third place on the day.