Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) rode to a commanding victory on the third stage of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico.
The Slovakian, winner last year of the green jersey of the Tour de France, among countless stage victories at the world’s biggest races, held off the challenges of Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
Sagan said he thought his victory over Cavendish was his first, and, perhaps significantly for the Classics season ahead, described his rivals as “the sprinters”, suggesting he believes himself capable of more.
Certainly Greipel believes so. The German later referred to Sagan as a “multi-talent” in a post-stage Tweet.
“We made the stage hard to wear out the sprinters. My teammates were great on the final climb and the contenders paid for their efforts on the final straight. I beat the best sprinters of the peloton and this is a great satisfaction.
“My goal for the ‘Tirreno’ is reached, now we’ll see day by day. Tomorrow is a good day for Moser and Caruso, while I hope to have a little bit of rest. If they are able to stay with the leaders, I’m ready to help them for the GC battle in next days.”
The 190km stage from Indicatore to Narni Scalo began in dry conditions, but the threatened rain soon arrived. The weather did not deter the rivals for Tirreno’s king of the mountains competition, Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) and Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
Former Team Sky rider, Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), a cobbled Classics specialist, launched an assault on the smooth roads of Italy, inside 15km from the finish, but drew a response from another hardman of the cobbles, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard).
The sprinters’ teams came to life in the closing kilometres, but with a slight climb before the finish, the super strong Sagan, an all-rounder with a superb sprint, rather than a pure sprinter, was always likely to be favourite.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 – stage three – result
1) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Cannondale Pro Cycling – 5.15.12
2) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep
3) André Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Belisol
4) Gerald Ciolek (GER) – MTN-Qhubeka
5) Matt Goss (AUS) – Orica-GreenEdge
6) Davide Cimolai (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
7) Tyler Farrar (USA) – Garmin-Sharp
8) Thor Hushovd (NOR) – BMC Racing
9) Manuel Belletti (ITA) – AG2R-La Mondiale
10) Simon Geschke (GER) Argos-Shimano
1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep – 11.23.08
2) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +7”
3) Niki Terpstra (NED) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +9”
4) Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep
5) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
6) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Cannondale Pro Cycling +18”
7) Alex Dowsett (GBR) – Movistar +20”
8) Giovanni Visconti (ITA) – Movistar
9) Benat Intxausti (SPA) – Movistar
10) Juan Jose Cobo (SPA) – Movistar