Wiggins moves up to third
Sir Bradley Wiggins moved up to third overall at the Volta a Catalunya after initiating a thrilling finale to stage three's summit finish at Vallter 2000.
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The Team Sky rider blew the peloton apart with an attack 1km from home, but later succumbed to counter-attacks and crossed the line fourth.
Colombia's Nairo Quintana blazed clear of the field in the final 500m to win by six seconds from Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde, with Joaquim Rodriguez following in third.
Valderde now assumes the overall leadership of the race, six seconds clear of fellow Spaniard Rodriguez and a further four ahead of Wiggins.
Despite missing out on the stage win, the Briton's display was further evidence of his fine form and suggested he will be in contention for overall victory come Sunday's final stage.
Stage three presented the race's first real test for the climbers and general classification contenders, with a 180km route ending with a summit finish in the ski resort of Vallter 2000.
A four-man group comprising of Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Lucas Haedo (Cannondale), Martin Kohler (BMC) and Karol Domagalski (Caja Rural) broke away from the peloton after just 7km and opened up a gap of more than seven minutes.
But the quartet began to splinter with 50km to go when Edet and Domagalski left their two fellow escapees behind, and then Edet went solo as Domagalski began to tire in the final 15km.
The Frenchman held a lead over the peloton of more than a minute going on to the final climb to Vallter 2000, but he was 4km from the finish by the attacking Jurgen van de Broeck (Lotto-Belisol).
The Belgian was himself reeled in 2km from the line as Team Sky pushed on at the front of the peloton, providing the ideal springboard for Wiggins to launch his on bid for victory 1km out.
The peloton had been closely bunched together up until that point, but cracks immediately started opening up as riders further down the field struggled to handle the rise in pace.
Wiggins was quickly reeled in by Quintana, who then burst off the front as he responded to an attack by pre-stage favourite Rodriguez with 400m to go.
The Colombian had the strong legs, though, and crossed the line six seconds ahead of Valverde, who had followed and overtaken Rodriguez late on.