Simon Gerrans delivers maiden Tour de France victory for Orica-GreenEDGE

Simon Gerrans secured the first Tour de France stage win for his Orica-GreenEDGE team, pipping Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in a photo finish in Calvi to win the third stage of the 2013 Tour de France.

Australian Gerrans, a stage winner in all three Grand Tours, outsprinted the Slovakian to finish a superb lead out from team-mate, Daryl Impey.

Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard) retained the yellow jersey after tireless work from his team to control the peloton.

Simon Gerrans salutes the crowd in Calvi after claiming the maiden Tour de France victory for his Orica-GreenEDGE team

Earlier in the stage, Gerrans’ team-mate, Simon Clarke, narrowly missed out on taking the polka-dot jersey having been part of a breakaway for the majority of the race.

But 33-year-old Gerrans was quick to pay tribute to his team’s efforts during the last of three stages to be held on the island of Corsica.

“It’s fantastic to have got the team’s first ever Tour de France stage win,” he said. “Regardless of the situation, the guys did a fantastic job for me.

“We looked to have a guy in the break and if they got brought back together, to look after myself – the last couple of days, I’ve been leading out Daryl Impey and he did a fantastic job for me today.

“Last year we had a fantastic debut season but we missed a stage of the Tour de France – it was a big goal this year.”

Clarke joined a break instigated by Lieuwe Westra of Vacansoleil-DCM as soon as the race rolled out from Ajaccio, and was joined by Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Alexis Vuillermoz (Sojasun) and Sebastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), quickly building a four-minute lead.

With RadioShack-Leopard doing much of the work at the front of the peloton to protect Bakelants in the maillot jaune, Clarke picked up the first climbing points on offer over the top of the category four Col de San Bastiano.

…which Simon Gerrans just won ahead of Peter Sagan in a photo finish

Minard was allowed to take the intermediate sprint, which followed 16km later, with green jersey holder Marcel Kittel winning the spriny from Andre Greipel and temporarily extending his points classification lead over Peter Sagan who crossed in 10th.

The break continued to lead with Vuelta a Espana king of the mountains Clarke picking up two points over the summit of Col de San Martino and then again over Cote du Porto, beating Vuillermoz to second both times.

With the fast, technical descents spreading the peloton, a number of sprinters were dropped, including Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), while Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) and Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) abandoned during the stage.

Incredibly, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), finished the stage, despite an X-ray showing he had sustained a hairline fracture of the pelvis during the spectacular crash 5km from the stage one finish on Saturday.

By now level with Pierre Rolland and Blel Kadri at the top of the King of the Mountains classification, Clarke went off the front of the break with Minard in a  bid to claim the polka-dot jersey, but Gautier’s attempted bridge prompted RadioShack to raise the pace in the peloton.

Sensing the opportunity, Europcar led out Rolland and the Frenchman ensured he would be retaining the polka dot jersey by passing Clarke 1.5km short of the summit and crossing first to claim the maximum five points.

Jan Bakelants cherished another day in the maillot jaune

Compatriot Sylvain Chavanel (OPQS), Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Lars Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) bridged to him and the peloton bunched to set up a sprint finish.

And Gerrans just pipped Sagan to the stage win by the narrowest of finishing margins, with Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) third, Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) fourth and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) fifth.

The result moved Sagan into the green jersey, while Kwiatkowski retained the white jersey after another strong ride by the youngster.

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Tour de France 2013 – stage two – result

1) Simon Gerrans (AUS) – Orica GreenEDGE – 3:41:24hours
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Cannondale Pro Cycling – same time
3) Juan Joaquin Rojas (ESP) – Movistar
4) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep
5) Philippe Gilbert (BEL) – BMC Racing
6) Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP) – Vaconsoleil-DCM
7) Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) – Astana
8) Maxime Bouet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
9) Julien Simon (FRA) – Sojasun
10) Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) – Euskaltel-Euskadi

General classification

1) Jan Bakelants (BEL) – RadioShack-Leopard – 12:21:27hours
2) Julien Simon (FRA) – Sojasun – +0.00.01
3) Simon Gerrans (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE – same time
4) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep
5) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Team Sky
6) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Orica-GreenEDGE
7) David Millar (GBR) – Garmin-Sharp
8) Sergey Labutin (UZB) – Vacansoleil-DCM
9) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing
10) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale

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