Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) attacked on the sharp climb at the end of stage three of the Vuelta a Espana on Monday to take a surprise win and put himself into the overall race lead.

Horner – the oldest rider in the race at 41 – waited patiently among the group of favourites near the front and put in a perfectly-executed move on the final climb to Mirador de Lobeira to jump clear.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) chased hard after Horner on the category three climb, but could only manage second with Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) claiming third.

Horner now takes to the top of the general classification thanks to his winner’s time bonus, eight seconds ahead of overnight leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Stage two winner Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) in third at 14 seconds.

The stage was far from straightforward, with brisk winds splitting the bunch on several occasions and a large crash wiping out a swathe of the peloton.

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) was one of those caught in a major crash and had to chase furiously get get back in touch with the bunch as Katusha and Movistar wound up the pace. Mollema managed to regain contact with the peloton before the final climb, and all credit to him for having the energy to place sixth on the line.

The day’s early break of Cyril Bessy (Cofidis), Luca Dodi (Lampre-Merida), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), Vicente Reynes (Lotto-Belisol) and Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was caught inside the final 40km.

Juan Antion Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) as the first rider to put in a serious  atack on teh final climb, but he was soon caught and passed by Italian champion Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing), who managed to hold on until the final kilometre before fading with his effort.

Horner cruised past Santaromita, followed by a group of contenders, but the American was not going to be caught. As well as taking the stage and race lead, Horner’s effort netted him a mention in the history books – as the oldest Grand Tour stage winner in history.

On Tuesday, the riders travel from Lalin to Finisterra over 189km with another uphill kick at the finish line.

Results
Vuelta a Espana 2013, stage three: Vigo to Mirador de Lobeira, 172.5km

1. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard in 4-30-18
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3 secs
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
7. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at same time
8. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard at 6 secs
9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff
10. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at same time

Overall classification after stage three
1. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard in 9-37-40
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 8 secs
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 14 secs
4. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard at 16 secs
5. Robert Kiserlovski (Crc) RadioShack-Leopard at 23 secs
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 24 secs
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) sky at 25 secs
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 38 secs
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 45 secs
10. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 45 secs

Juan Antonio Flecha and Ivan Santaromita

Chris Horner wins

Chris Horner in the race lead

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Related links

Vuelta 2013 coverage index

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Stage reports

Stage two: Nicolas Roche attacks to win

Stage one: Astana takes opening team time trial

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Photo galleries

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery