Race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) won stage three of the 2015 Giro d’Italia, in the pink jersey, but the stage was overshadowed by a serious injury suffered by Domenico Pozzovivo.
Ag2r-La Mondiale’s diminutive Italian crashed heavily on the descent of the Barbagelata, landing face-first and suffering, it was confirmed post-race, a ‘cranial-facial trauma’ and deep wounds above his eye.
Paramedics treated Pozzovivo, who was seen as an outsider for the GC, at the scene and he left the race in an ambulance to widespread concern – though conscious, his team reported he had no recollection of the crash.
Though overshadowed by the crash, Orica-GreenEDGE continued their recent domination of the opening week of the Giro d’Italia – Matthews claiming his fifth Grand Tour stage win in the process.
The Australian outsprinted Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), coming around the Trek man and unleashing an unstoppable sprint for the line.
Orica-GreenEDGE had been in top form throughout, getting two riders in the day’s large early breakaway to take the pressure off their team-mates in the bunch – Tinkoff-Saxo driving the pace instead.
Gilbert was also in the break – which numbered 25 in total – before Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha) jumped clear as the peloton closed in rapidly.
Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) also attacked, dragging Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) with him.
Clarke refused to contribute to the pace-setting, however, as Orica-GreenEDGE began to add numbers to the chase at the front of the bunch.
Simon Gerrans was Matthews lead-out man, but the Australian took the wheel of the Trek train and burst around Felline with perfect timing.
With bonus points available at the finish, Matthews now leads by six seconds overall – with three of his Orica-GreenEDGE team-mates just behind.
Pozzovivo’s abandon was the only major change as far as the GC men were concerned, though – the Italian now recuperating in Genoa hospital after his crash.
Giro d’Italia 2015: stage three – result
1) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE – 3.33.53hrs
2) Fabio Felline (ITA) – Trek Factory Racing – ST
3) Philippe Gilbert (BEL) – BMC Racing
4) Sergey Labutin (RUS) – Katusha
5) Paolo Tiralongo (ITA) – Astana
6) Luca Paolini (ITA) – Katusha
7) Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) – Southeast
8) Enrico Battaglin (ITA) – Bardiani-CSF
9) Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) – Astana
10) Yonathan Monsalve (COL) – Southeast
1) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE – 8.06.27hrs
2) Simon Clarke (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE +6”
3) Simon Gerrans (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE +10”
4) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-GreenEDGE – ST
5) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff-Saxo +17”
6) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo – ST
7) Michael Rogers (AUS) – Tinkoff-Saxo
8) Paolo Tiralongo (ITA) – Astana +23”
9) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana – ST
10) Diego Rosa (ITA) – Astana