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  7. 2017 Giro d’Italia, stage 3

2017 Giro d'Italia

STAGE 3: Tortoli to Cagliari

A basically flat stage with light, easy undulating stretches throughout the course. After Villasimius, the parcours features some short climbs on the coast road. The final part leading into Cagliari runs flat, favoring a sprint.

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Gaviria wins third stage, takes Giro pink jersey

Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) claims stage three and lifts the maglia rosa at the 2017 Giro d’Italia on Sunday, May 7, 2017. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

CAGLIARI, Italy (AFP) — Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria finished off a cunning tactical move by his Quick-Step Floors team to win the third stage of the Giro d’Italia and secure the race leader’s pink jersey on Sunday.

Gaviria, competing in his maiden Grand Tour, emerged from a small bunch sprint after the Belgian outfit used tough crosswinds to cause a split in the peloton with 10km to race to power over the line in triumph at the end of the 148km ride from Tortoli to Cagliari.

“This is the most important thing I’ve achieved, to win a stage at the Giro and take the pink jersey,” said Gaviria. “It’s the happiest day for me.

“The team did a great job protecting me, and we made the first selection,” he continued to explain. “I missed out on victory yesterday, and I knew today was the last chance to try to gain the pink jersey.

“I will gladly pass it along to the best climber on Mount Etna, but I will enjoy it until then.”

Germany’s Rudiger Selig (Bora team) finished a distant second with Italian national champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) third.

Stage 3 results, top 10

  • 1. Fernando GAVIRIA, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, in 3:26:33
  • 2. Rüdiger SELIG, BORA-HANSGROHE, at :00
  • 3. Giacomo NIZZOLO, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at :00
  • 4. Nathan HAAS, DIMENSION DATA, at :00
  • 5. Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :00
  • 6. Kanstantsin SIUTSOU, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at :03
  • 7. Bob JUNGELS, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :03
  • 8. Caleb EWAN, ORICA-SCOTT, at :13
  • 9. Sacha MODOLO, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at :13
  • 10. André GREIPEL, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :13

General classification, top 10

  • 1. Fernando GAVIRIA, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, in 14:45:16
  • 2. André GREIPEL, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :09
  • 3. Lukas PÖSTLBERGER, BORA-HANSGROHE, at :13
  • 4. Bob JUNGELS, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :13
  • 5. Kanstantsin SIUTSOU, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at :13
  • 6. Caleb EWAN, ORICA-SCOTT, at :17
  • 7. Roberto FERRARI, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at :17
  • 8. Ryan GIBBONS, DIMENSION DATA, at :23
  • 9. Enrico BATTAGLIN, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at :23
  • 10. Sacha MODOLO, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at :23

On the third and final stage on Sardinia and ahead of the first rest day, Gaviria takes the pink jersey from overnight leader André Greipel of Lotto Soudal.

Greipel, an 11-time stage winner on the Tour de France, claimed his seventh stage victory from Giro when he powered to victory in Tortoli on Saturday.

But the German’s first spell in the “maglia rosa” (pink jersey) proved brief after he was one of several stage contenders caught short by Quick-Step’s audacious but impressive move.

A three-man breakaway was allowed to wriggle free early on and went on to build a maximum lead of three minutes on the peloton.

But their bid collapsed with less than 25km remaining when the last remnant of their escape, Czech Jan Tratnik (CCC), was reeled in.

The run-in to Cagliari looked a simple affair on paper, but with tough crosswinds to negotiate and a lengthy home straight that enticed the fast men of the peloton, nerves soon began to fray amid fears teams would work to cause splits.

The inevitable finally happened with a little under 10km to race when several Quick-Step riders, including Gaviria, upped the pace and broke away from the main bunch.

Greipel’s Lotto team battled to close the 20-second gap, but it was futile.

“This is sport, sometimes yes, sometimes no,” claimed the 34-year-old German sprinter. “I could miss the crash. I was in the front group, and I just had to stay there.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t pay back for the good teamwork to defend the jersey and to win the stage. It was a good opportunity, because I knew I could stay in this group.

“The only thing is bad luck.”

The frontrunners were left unchallenged on the long home straight, with Gaviria making no mistake with an impressive finishing burst that left his few rivals in his wake.

It was the 22-year-old’s maiden stage win in a three-week race, which he will now resume as leader on Tuesday, when  — after the first of three rest days Monday —the peloton tackles the first summit finish of the race to Mount Etna.