Giro d'Italia (st. 3)
Antonio stays with biggest names until last 2km, finishes half a minute after Nibali (TFS); Sergio attacks into final climb, ends right after Movistar team-mate.
/ Today’s route
The Giro was tackling on Monday its first big mountain stage, with the Etna climb -this time to the Piano Provenzana skit station- on a road different to previous years, a steadier one with tough slopes near the end (18.8km at 6.6%). There were also many non-rated climbs prior to this first mountain-top finish in the ‘Corsa Rosa’, making for a quite demanding day.
/ Weather report
There were more clouds than in previous days and some light rain wasn’t ruled out for a portion of the race, yet temperatures stayed warm (around 25ºC) and winds didn’t play any effects on the peloton.
/ Keys to the race
- Despite the early break being a strong group in numbers and power -an eight-man move with Visconti (THR), Rumac (ANS), Holmes (LTS), Campenaerts (NTT), Bjerg (UAD), Caicedo, Craddock (EF1) and Romano (BRD)-, Mitchelton-Scott soon took command and didn’t let the escapees gain a huge advantage: a estable, maximum gap of 5’30” over a peloton seeking for the stage win. However, with no other teams available immediately to join them, the advantage did not decrease as fast as needed: it was still 4’45” with less than 40km to go.
- The coverage work at the front of the bunch by Albert Torres and the support until the last climb by Villella, Carretero, Sepúlveda, Rubio and Cataldo kept Antonio Pedrero and Sergio Samitier with fresh legs heading into the last climb, which they started (-20km) more than 3′ behind a break where Jonathan Caicedo (EF1) claimed the stage win. The work by Trek-Segafredo and Bora-Hansgrohe before and during the climb did leave, though, several victims, such as Geraint Thomas (IGD), affected by a crash in the neutral zone, or Simon Yates (MTS), soon dropping back.
- Sergio Samitier went on the attack inside the last 5km of a very lively Etna ascent, with Kelderman (SUN) launching a move to finish ahead of all GC contenders and Nibali (TBM) trying his way off the front with less than 3k left. Pedrero, who was really close to staying with the main GC group, crossed the line 32″ after the Italian’s group (+1’23” on Caicedo), with Samitier just after him. The Movistar Team duo now sit into the top-20 overall, led by Joao Almeida (DQT), who will wear pink on Tuesday tied with Caicedo.
/ Upcoming goals
The race bids farewell to Sicily on Tuesday -it will actually finish a bit earlier, around 4pm CEST, to help the convoy with its transfer back to the continent- with the first opportunity for a bunch spritn in this Giro. The 140km route from Catania to Villafranca Tirrena contains a long climb, Portella Mandrazzi (Cat-3; 19.6km at 4%), yet its summit is located nearly 70km away from the line, and a long flat approach comes after its descent.
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto