Giro d'Italia 2017: QuickStep conquer crosswinds as Fernando Gaviria wins stage three - Road Cycling UK

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Giro d’Italia 2017: QuickStep conquer crosswinds as Fernando Gaviria wins stage three

Colombian takes pink jersey into first rest day after sprinting to victory in Cagliari

Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep Floor) sprinted to stage three success at the Giro d’Italia, and into the pink jersey after crosswinds battered the peloton in the run-in to Cagliari.

Colombian fast-man Gaviria sealed his first Grand Tour stage win after QuickStep Floors ripped the peloton apart in the crosswinds – the Belgian team making up almost half the front echelon.

And with two lead-out men, and the fastest sprint of the seven who remained on the final run-in, Gaviria bagged victory and the race lead as stage two winner Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), in the pink jersey, was forced to unclip just as the front group went clear.

The German finished tenth on the day, 13 seconds in arrears, and now trails Gaviria by nine seconds after the three Sardinian stages of the 100th Giro d’Italia.

The chief GC favourites all finished in the same group, meanwhile, as the await their first opportunity to shine on stage four to Mount Etna after the first rest day, but Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) suffered a late crash and lost five minutes.

Fernando Gaviria sprinted to victory on stage three of the 2017 Giro d’Italia after QuickStep Floors seized the initiative in crosswinds (pic – Sirotti)

The wind which caused such problems in the finale was a tailwind initially, as four riders got into the day’s break – Jan Tratnik (CCC Sprandi Polowice), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-RusVelo), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia).

Sbaragli’s ambitions were clear – taking the first intermediate sprint points to not only seize a few bonus seconds himself, but also protect team-mate Daniel Teklehaimanot’s sprint lead from Zhupa.

The Italian sat up and returned to the bunch after the first intermediate sprint, leaving a breakaway of three with only a couple of minutes’ advantage over the peloton.

The breakaway was never likely to be a threat to the bunch, but the winds – as the race changed direction and started heading into the wind – made for a nervous bunch.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), already 20 seconds down on his GC rivals after losing time on stage two, suffered a mechanical and had to be relayed back to the peloton by his team-mates.

The race was all together with still more than 20km to go, but that did not last – the GC teams keeping their leaders safe near the front, and the sprinters fighting for good road position ahead of the finale.

With echelons threatening, the elastic finally snapped as Bob Jungels and the QuickStep Floors team hit the front after a roundabout and powered away.

Greipel was the first man not to make the split, as he was forced to unclip, with Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), Rudiger Selig (Bora-hansgrohe), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Kanstansin Siutsou (Bahrain-Merida) the only non-QuickStep riders in the front group.

Gaviria is the third different rider to pull on the maglia rosa in the first three days (pic – Sirotti)

Sensing an opportunity, Haas launched an early attack to try and foil the QuickStep men, but Max Richeze was alert to the danger to shut him down.

And when Gaviria kicked relatively early in the sprint, Selig and Nizzolo simply could not compete with his burst of speed.

Caleb Ewan led what remained of the peloton over the line 13 seconds later, with only Dennis – who had crashed near the front of the group shortly after QuickStep bolted clear – missing out of the riders who had harboured hopes of a GC challenge.

Heading into the first rest day and then onto Mount Etna, Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas sits 11th overall, while Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) is 13th.

Giro d’Italia 2017: stage three – result

1) Fernando Gaviria (COL) – QuickStep Floors – 3.26.33hrs
2) Rudiger Selig (GER) – Bora-hansgrohe – ST
3) Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo
4) Nathan Haas (AUS) – Dimension Data
5) Max Richeze (ARG) – QuickStep Floors
6) Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR) – Bahrain-Merida +3”
7) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors – ST
8) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott +13”
9) Sacha Modolo (ITA) – UAE Team Emirates – ST
10) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal

General classification

1) Fernando Gaviria (COL) – QuickStep Floors – 14.45.16hrs
2) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal +9”
3) Lukas Postlberger (AUT) – Bora-hansgrohe +13”
4) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors – ST
5) Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR) – Bahrain-Merida
6) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott +17”
7) Roberto Ferrari (ITA) – UAE Team Emirates – ST
8) Ryan Gibbons (RSA) – Dimension Data +23”
9) Enrico Battaglin (ITA) – LottoNL-Jumbo
10) Sacha Modolo (ITA) – UAE Team Emirates

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