Today’s 150km stage in the Giro d’Italia finishing atop Mount Etna was won by Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) who attacked from the remnants of the day’s break on the leg-sapping ascent up Linguaglossa to solo across the line. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-KTM) finished second on the stage, 21 seconds behind, followed by Lotto-Soudal’s Harm Vanhoucke a further nine seconds back. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is the new overall leader after a day that saw a massive shake-up in the general classification.
The Ecuadorian champion Jonathan Caicedo, who’d been part of an eight-man break established early in the stage, survived to take an impressive maiden Grand Tour victory, holding off the overall contenders as the GC battle erupted on the slope behind him.
Once on his lonesome, 27-year-old Caicedo pedalled with purpose, leading some on Twitter to speculate.
However, it was ideal weather for ducks as the heavens opened on the active volcano, just as Caicedo dropped Visconti, his final companion from the break with under 4km to go. But the rain didn’t dampen those sparks. Further down the slope, a determined quintet had formed, including Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang and two-time Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), which finished in a small group 51 seconds down on our stage-winner.
However, it was Almeida, who finished second in the opening time-trial, who took the race lead by the slimmest of margins after finishing 11th, just over a minute down on Caicedo. The latter is now second overall on the same time as Almeida, though he did claim the the king of the mountains jersey as consolation.
Speaking seconds after the finish, stage winner Caicedo said:
From this morning we had decided that I would try to attack and go in the breakaway. We did it, we took a good lead on the peloton and then on the Etna climb I managed to drop Visconti. I’m very happy.
The top 10 re-shuffle
Blimey, the Italian Grand Tour is firing on all cylinders and shedding GC contenders left, right and centre. Today Geraint Thomas (Ineos) dropped out of GC contention before the climb, losing more than 12 minutes. due to a hard crash in the neutral zone at the start of the stage. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was also dropped on the climb, losing over three minutes to Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe), Nibali and Fuglsang, who all finished together, with Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) just behind.
Meanwhile, Almeida, a 22-year-old Grand Tour debutant, became the first Portuguese rider in more than three decades to lead the race. Post stage he confirmed:
Cannot describe this feeling, it’s a dream that becomes true. I tried to do my best on the climb and stay with the main favorites for the GC. It’s a dream.
Today’s turn of events has left seasoned commentators scratching their heads.
Results – stage 3
1 Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) 4:02:33
2 Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-KTM) +0:21
3 Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) +0:30
4 Wilco Kelderman (Jumbo Visma) +0:39
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +0:51
GC Top 10
1 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck QuickStep) 7:44:25
2 Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) same time
3 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:37
4 Wilco Kelderman (Jumbo Visma) +0:42
5 Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) +0:53
6 Vicenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) +0:55
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) +0:59
8 Brandon McNulty (UAE-Emirates) +1:11
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +1:13
10 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo Visma) +1:15
All the Jerseys
Leader’s jersey Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Points jersey Diego Ulissi (UAE-Emirates)
King of the Mountains Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling)
Best Young Rider Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
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Official race website: Giro d’Italia
Header image: ©Getty Images/ AFP / Luca Bettini