Giro d'Italia (st. 3)
Movistar Team’s leader into favourites’ group at first difficult stage in this year’s Giro, now 4th overall behind stage winner and new ‘maglia rosa’ Paolini (KAT)
The 222-kilometer stage three in the 2013 Giro d’Italia, one of the longest in this year’s race, saw big spectacle in the finale with the main favourites becoming offensive. The difficult finish, with the climb of Sella di Catona (Cat. 3) just 20k from the finish and a tricky descent leading to the final 1.5km of flat, proved the strength by Hesjedal and Nibali on the climbs and broke up the bunch with around 30 riders in the lead, including Intxausti, Visconti and Karpets -Juanjo Cobo couldn’t enter the elite group with his knee still healing after the incidents on Sunday-. The front echelon was still to be shortened into a dangerous break, with several crashes -one prior, in the beginning of the climb, left José Herrada behind- letting only 15 riders together at the fore, with Beñat Intxausti always present.
The Movistar Team leader kept the wheel of the biggest names in the ‘Corsa Rosa’ and came across the finish just 16 seconds behind Luca Paolini (KAT), whose attack with 5k to go rewarded him the stage win and the ‘maglia rosa’. Intxausti is now 4th in the GC, with only the veteran Italian -as well as Wiggins and Urán (SKY)- preceeding him. Visconti, who crossed through the final climb’s banner on top, is giving up the ‘maglia azzurra’ by only one point against Belgian Willem Wauters (VCD). Another long day will be awaiting the riders tomorrow: 246km between Policastro Bussentino and Serra San Bruno, with the Croce Ferrata climb (Cat. 2; 13km, 5’5%) less than 7k from the end.