Giro d'Italia (st. 3)
Sütterlin finishes more than 13' down on Marcel Kittel (EQS) due to stomach bug, makes it to first rest day; 'Bala', Amador and rest of Movistar Team unscathed after stressful end to Giro's Gelderland adventure
The 2016 Giro d'Italia's journey through the Netherlands ended today for the Movistar Team with a sense of calmness as Alejandro Valverde got through it in perfect condition -the Spanish road race champion even staying within the best ten of the peloton with 600m to go, hobnobbing with the top sprinters, to avoid any splits-. The Blues were also happy to see Andrey Amador back into third overall, behind back-to-back stage victor Kittel (EQS) and former race leader Dumoulin (TGA). But the biggest news, or maybe the biggest show of courage from today's development of things, was brought by Jasha Sütterlin for the entire 190km from Nijmegen to Arnhem.
The German youngster -debutant into Grand Tours- finished 13'32" back on the winner. Suffering from a stomach bug since last night, Sütterlin did not have breakfast, and his ability to eat almost any sort of food was completely restricted. With 70 kilometer from the finish, Jasha was dropped back. No chance was left for him to receive any help, other than neutral assistance. But he stayed into the race. He crossed the line and will travel to Catanzaro tomorrow with his team-mates, into the charter flights offered by race organisers RCS. Our hero in Gelderland.
Jasha Sütterlin: "Last night I got sick, with stomach problems. My only job for today's stage was making it with the peloton, but after 120km into the stage, some crosswinds formed and I got dropped. After that, I had to do some 70 kilometers alone behind, completely alone. Even though I tried to bridge back, I couldn't make it back to the peloton. But I kept going, making all efforts possible to reach the finish, and I made it. I was completely empty, because I threw up everything in the toilet last night. I'm just so happy to have finished."
Carlos Betancur: "Thank God, we got through these opening three stages in the best of possible ways and keep our leader Alejandro safe and sound. We're so excited to get back to Italy, because the terrain up from Catanzaro suits us much more. Today's crashes? It's normal; the riders get a bit nervous on the first week of a Grand Tour, but it's true that there were too many of them. I do think it's normal, considering the nature of Dutch roads, and that's why we're so happy to travel to Italy tomorrow."