photo credits @ Twitter
Michael Matthews claimed stage 3 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, in a sprint finish in Sestri Levanti, after surviving the day’s most difficult climb of the Passo della Scoglina – during the second half of the race.
“It’s been a dream come true so far for the Giro d’Italia this year,” said Matthews. “This was another big goal for us, this stage 3.”
Orica GreenEdge read today’s stage with precision, as the race began cuing up for a bunch finish following the last climb of the day.
As a result, Orica began moving Matthews up to the front, as Simon Gerrans provided him with the perfect slipstream to follow in.
From there, Matthews got the jump on his rivals during the final 150 meters, to squeeze out Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing) – followed by Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), to seize the win.
Pavel Kotchetkov (Katusha) initiated the first real attack of the day, after surging over the last big climb of the Barbagelata, subsequently hitting the treacherous, twisting descent with abandon.
Midway down the descent, Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) was involving in a serious crash along one of the sweeping corners, that saw the Italian rider off in an ambulance.
Shortly thereafter, four riders emerged from the chase group to try and track down Kotchetkov, who were quickly joined by Gilbert, Maciej Paterski and Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal), Jesús Herrada (Movistar), Esteban Chaves and Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge), Francesco Gavazzi (Southeast), and Davide Villella (Cannondale-Garmin), to form a 10-man lead group.
With 25 kilometers remaining, the breakaway group had established a 30 second lead over the closest chasers, while the peloton lingered at almost a minute back.
However, as the race reached the final 20 kilometer mark, their gap had fallen to 16 seconds over the chase.
From there, Paterski, Clarke and Hansen managed to escaped from the chase group and catch Kotchetkov during the final 10 kilometers.
However, a determined peloton eventually caught the four escapees inside the final 3 kilometers.
Inside the final kilometer, Astana took to the front in hopes of positioning one of its sprinters into position. But, Orica had other plans, as Gerrans commenced the perfect lead-out for Matthews up the left side of the route, to deny Felline and others the victory.
“It was quite hard,” Matthews said after the stage. “The final climb, I just tried to save my legs as much as possible. … It was just to get to the bottom of the climb at the front and just drift toward the back to save my legs for the sprint.”
Stage 3 Results
AUS 1 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) 3:33:53
ITA 2 FELLINE, Fabio (TREK FACTORY RACING)
BEL 3 GILBERT, Philippe (BMC RACING)
RUS 4 LAGUTIN, Sergey (KATUSHA)
ITA 5 TIRALONGO, Paolo (ASTANA)
ITA 6 PAOLINI, Luca (KATUSHA)
ITA 7 GAVAZZI, Francesco (SOUTHEAST)
ITA 8 BATTAGLIN, Enrico (BARDIANI CSF)
ESP 9 SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon (ASTANA)
VEN 10 MONSALVE, Yonattah (SOUTHEAST)
General Classification after Stage 3
AUS 1 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) 8:06:27
AUS 2 CLARKE, Simon (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 6
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