Giro d’Italia: Angel Vicioso wins stage three from late breakaway as David Millar takes pink
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Monday, May 09, 2011

Giro d’Italia: Angel Vicioso wins stage three from late breakaway as David Millar takes pink

by Ben Atkins at 11:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Race overshadowed by the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt who crashed on the stage’s main descent

angel viciosoAngel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli-CIPI) outsprinted his breakaway companions to take the third stage of the Giro d’Italia between Reggio Emilia and Rapallo. The Spanish fast man easily overcame David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo) and Pablo Lastras (Movistar) after five riders escaped over the final short, sharp climb, just a few kilometres from the end of the 178km stage.

Millar takes the pink jersey, but the day’s race was overshadowed by the serious condition of Wouter Weylandt (Leopard Trek), who came down hard on the day’s main descent.

Paying tribute to the nation’s 10th anniversary once more, the Giro’s third stage began in the town of Reggio Emilia, where Italy’s iconic green, white and red tricolore originated.

A breakaway goes as usual, with Omega Pharma-Lotto in there again

After a frenetic start to the stage, where a number of attacks were attempted, a group of four riders got away after 32km. The break consisted of: Gianluca Brambilla (Colnago-CSF Inox), Bart De Clercq (Omega Pharam-Lotto), Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and Davide Ricci Bitti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli).

After Sebastian Lang’s incredible 215km solo effort the day before, Omega Pharma-Lotto had got itself represented in the escape once more. The German took the red mountains jersey as the first rider over the day’s only climb and the Belgian team was clearly intent on keeping it in house.

Within 3km the four riders already led by 2’25”, which had stretched out to 5’50”, by the 43km point. With four in the group this time though, the peloton wasn’t going to allow them the same leeway as it had Lang though and, under the impetus of Lampre-ISD, the peloton gradually began to peg them back.

At the 100km point, with 78km remaining, the foursome’s advantage had dropped to four minutes. Lampre-ISD was still leading, along with race leader Mark Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad team, with Alberto Contador’s entire Saxo Bank-SunGard team lined out behind them.

Shortly after this point Cavendish suffered a technical problem, having to change his bike; the peloton was setting an easy pace though, as his team stopped pulling on the front, and he managed to rejoin without too much trouble.

The peloton gains as the climb begins

With 50km to go the leading quartet’s lead was dropping down towards 2 minutes and, as the climb to Passo del Bocco began in earnest, the Lampre-ISD and Saxo Bank-SunGard teams began to up the pace, bringing the gap down even further.

As the four fugitives approached the top of the climb, De Clercq attacked in ana attempt to tale the points. The Belgian was marked by the others though, and Brambilla timed his jump far better. Launching his move from the back of the four-man line, the little Italian managed to open up a wide gap between himself and the others; Brutt just about managed to close it, but could only roll over the line in Brambila’s slipstream.

De Clercq followed over a few seconds later, ahead of a struggling Ricci Bitti, with the Peloton, now led by Liquigas-Cannondale just 1’01” behind.

With just 39km, mostly downhill, remaining in the stage, the four riders’ days looked numbered.

On the twisting, technical descent of the Passo del Bocco The Liquigas-Cannondale team, which had well and truly seized control of the peloton, strung things out and steadily ate into the lead of the breakaway riders. There were currently three in the lead, with Ricci Bitti somewhere between them and the pursuing peloton.

Tragedy strikes the Giro d'Italia

Suddenly, somewhere in the peloton Wouter Weylandt (Leopard Trek) came down and hit the road hard. The Belgian lay on the road, apparently unconscious, bleeding from his nose and cuts to his face; the race’s medical team were forced to cut his helmet and racing kit off him, and reportedly had to administer cardiac massage; he continued to receive treatment at the roadside as a helicopter waited to take him to hospital.

As the leaders hit the bottom of the descent with 25km to go, their lead had been cut to 45 seconds, Ricci Bitti rejoined, while Lampre-ISD took over the front of the peloton, which looked a little shaken after what had happened to Weylandt on the way down.

With Lampre-ISD working for stage two winner Alessandro Petacchi, the blue-fuchsia team decided that the front group was close enough for a while and eased off the pace. Instead of eating up the gap, as Liquigas-Cannondale had been doing, Lampre-ISD instead began to nibble off a few seconds here and there; at 15km to go the four led by just 24 seconds, as Garmin-Cervélo moved up to join the chase.

With 12km to go the four riders were finally caught. This may have been too soon for the sprinters’ teams though, who now had to be vigilant to prevent late counterattacks.

Late attacks and the peloton can't stop them

Sure enough, as the short, sharp climb to Madonna delle Grazie began, another Omega Pharma-Lotto rider leapt out of the front of the peloton. He was quickly joined by Fabian Wegman (Leopard Trek), then Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervélo) and a rider from Team Sky.

Once again Liquigas-Cannondale took charge of the peloton, with the acceleration putting a number of riders in trouble, including Cavendish and, surprisingly, Carlos Sastre (Geox-TMC).

Up ahead the group of four was joined by Lastras, but the move was steadily closed down before it reached the top.

As the peloton rejoined the fugitives though, Le Mével jumped again with Lastrs and they were joined by Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Vicioso. The four riders took the top of the climb together and set off down the descent with just 6km remaining in the stage.

With 5km to go the four riders led by 14 seconds, as Millar managed to make his way across to join the group, putting the American team in pole position with two out of five riders.

A first time stage winner but nobody feels like celebrating

Inside the final 2km the quintet had 18 seconds on the peloton, with every chance of making it to the finish. Just behind them Bram Tankink (Rabobank) and Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) were chasing hard, with the thundering bunch breathing down their necks.

Into the final kilometre the five leaders kept the pace high. On the curvy finishing straight Millar opened up his sprint, but he was no match for the Spanish sprint specialist. Despite missing out on the stage win, the Scotsman has the consolation of te first maglia rosa of his career.

Lastras, Moreno and Le Mével followed them over, with Tankink and Pineau 12 seconds behind them; Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) led the peloton home after 21 seconds, banging the bars with the frustration of a stage win missed.

Once the stage was over, the news reached the peloton that Weylandt had died of the injuries that he had sustained in the crash. With everyone devastated by the news, the podium presentations and press conferences were cancelled.

Result stage 3
1. Angel Vicioso (Spa) Androni Giocattoli-CIPI
2. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo
3. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar
4. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha
5. Christophe Le Mével (Fra) Garmin-Cervélo
6. Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank @ 12s
7. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
8. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox @ 21s
9. Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
10. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale

Standings after stage 3
1. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo
2. Angel Vicioso (Spa) Androni Giocattoli-CIPI @ 7s
3. Kanstantin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad @ 9s
4. Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-Highroad
5. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad
6. Christophe Le Mével (Fra) Garmin-Cervélo @ 12s
7. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD @ 13s
8. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar @ 18s
9. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack @ 19s
10. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack

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