Not punchy but full of punctures. Giro d’Italia Stage 3 in Sardinia, from Tortoli to Cagliari, was exposed to wide flat roads and crosswinds galore and the last 10km exploded when QuickStep injected some Belgian pace to a very blowy finale. Giro leader Andre Greipel made a valiant effort to crash the party but to no avail. Colombian Fernando Gaviria took the hectic sprint and takes the maglia rosa into the rest day.
Rider(s) of the RaceEmbed from Getty Images
It was a nervy stage today but you wouldn’t know it from the way Quick-Step rode into the crosswinds and plucked a pink jersey out of the air for their young sprinter, Fernando Gaviria.
A short flat stage was always going to mean a dutiful procession to the finish line, with the peloton keeping a sleepy eye on the 4-man breakaway (maybe that was just me) until it was time to stoke up the sprint trains. With 30km to go, the only remaining breaker, Jan Tratnik (CCC), displayed a lot of grit given the crosswinds battering the sinuous and stunning coastline, only to be swallowed up by a twitchy peloton flocking like birds in their fight for position.Embed from Getty Images
Mechanicals and punctures came at metronomic intervals (Zakarin twice!) and at 10 km to the finish line, riders started to be spat out the back by Quick-Step making the most of their Belgian credentials with a timely and punishing attack. Their small group quickly got a sizeable gap and it was their stage to lose – and miracle of miracles, they didn’t lose it! Gaviria certainly has Bob Jungels to thank for that.Embed from Getty Images
Resplendent in his Luxembourg national jersey, Jungels’ pace was too strong for even the Gorilla, distancing the maglia rosa who was giving everything to catch the front group. Taking valuable seconds for himself over all the other GC riders, Jungels multitasked and set up his Colombian teammate for the sprint. With 150 meters to go, Gaviria put the pedal to the metal and nobody could catch him. Not only did he take his first Giro stage, he also took his first pink jersey.
1 Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 3:26:33
2 Rudiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) s/t
4 Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) s/t
5 Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) s/t
GC Top 5Embed from Getty Images
1 Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 14:45:16
2 Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) +0:09
3 Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:13
4 Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) same time
5 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Bahrain Merida) s/t
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
Points jersey: Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)
KOM jersey: Daniel Teklahaimanot (Team Dimension-Data)
Best young rider: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News
Header Image: Fernando Gaviria ©GETTY/Corbis Sport/Tim de Waele