Elia Viviani, beaten into second place yesterday, timed his sprint to perfection today to win Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia in Orbetello, Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma retains his 19-second lead at the top of the general classification over Mitchelton-Scott’s Simon Yates, but after finding himself caught behind a crash with around 5 kilometres remaining, Team Ineos co-leader Tao Geoghegan Hart lost a minute and a half and drops out of the top 10 overall.
Yesterday’s stage winner, Pascal Ackermann of Bora-Hansgrohe, was well-placed in the finishing straight following a tough and technical final, but mistimed his sprint and finished fourth.
Instead it was Deceuninck-Quick Step's Viviani, in the colours of Italian national champion, beat Fernando Gaviria of UAE Team Emirates into second place with Groupama-FDJ's Arnaud Demare third.
While yesterday’s second stage saw an eight-man breakaway, today’s 220-kilometre stage from Vinci saw a lone escapee, Nippo-Vini Fantini’s Sho Hatsuyama.
The Japanese rider attacked early on and, despite no-one else going with him, decided to go it alone and would eventually spend 144 kilometres on his own.
A nervous finale with an exposed final 10 kilometres and strong winds saw several crashes, involving the British Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, James Knox.
That crash resulted in a split in the peloton, and happening as it did around 5 kilometres out meant the riders who were on the wrong side of it lost time – including Geoghegan Hart, who had crashed earlier in the stage and lost around a minute and a half by the time he crossed the line.
Stage winner Fernando Gaviria
“It is how it is. The winner is who is the first one on the road. With curves like these at the end, it’s impossible for sprinters not to touch each other. Elia won today and he deserves to be the winner.
"I sent him a message after I was declared the winner. Personally, I felt better legs than yesterday. My condition is good. I just miss some racing days and I hope to really win a stage in the eight coming days.
"The level of the sprinters is very high this year. It was also a strange stage today. There wasn’t as much wind as we expected and no team wanted to take the lead too early because of the head wind at the very end.”
Elia Viviani, relegated after crossing the line first
“I am completely disappointed by this decision. Yesterday I made a mistake in the final and today was focused on doing my best. As you could see all the other sprinters crossed the line behind me.
"The team did an amazing job and I am extremely proud of them. There was a strong headwind, so that’s why I started my sprint late.
"I was really happy to have taken the win, but then this decision came and all I can do now is focus on the next sprint I and take this jersey to the top of a stage classification”
Maglia Rosa, Primoz Roglic
“We didn’t bother about the sprint. We just did our job and finish safely in the bunch. It was an easy stage. It was a long day with some wind but it finished well for us. I haven’t checked what it’ll be like tomorrow. I take it day by day. For sure the last week of the Giro will be tough and decisive. So far so good for me. I hope to stay healthy.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.