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Remco Evenepoel powered up the final climb to win the third stage of the Tour of Burgos on Thursday to take the overall lead in the five-day race.
At the top of the 8.25-kilometre ascent of Picon Blanco, the 20-year Belgian, who rides for Deceuninck-Quickstep, finished 18 seconds ahead of New Zealander George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), with veteran Spaniard Mikel Landa (Bahrain) a further 14 seconds back.
The trio now lead the overall standings of the first stage race since the coronavirus lockdown in the same order and separated by the same time gaps.
"The last kilometre was really hard," Evenepoel said.
"I was already going flat out and there was a full headwind, but the wind was the same for everyone and I could hear my gap was increasing."
"I was on the limit, but if you don't risk, you don't win," he said of his decisive attack.
It was Evenpoel's fifth stage victory this year. He completed the hilly 150-kilometre stage in 3 hours, 59 minutes and 9 seconds.
On Friday, the sprinters will have a chance to shine in the fourth and penultimate stage, of 163 kilometres, between Bodegas Nabal and Roa de Duero.