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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
What a way to start the week. We may have had a lengthy wait to see this year’s Giro get underway, but once things got started, it wasn’t long before some major action in the GC department.
Monday’s stage 3 finished on the challenging slopes of Mount Etna, and the ascent of the Sicilian climb featured no shortage of storylines. Off the front, a first-time Grand Tour stage winner took the victory, while behind, two huge names lost time.
Read on for more …
| Caicedo wins stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia as Thomas, Yates lose big time
Jonathan Caicedo soared to his first career Grand Tour stage win on Monday’s stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia, which also saw big changes to the GC battle.
Caicedo triumphed out of the break, going solo for the final four kilometers to get the win ahead of Giovanni Visconti, with Harm Vanhoucke taking third. Behind, there was a major GC shakeup as Geraint Thomas was dropped early on the climb, having crashed hard in the neutral zone at the start of the stage, while Simon Yates was distanced halfway up the ascent. Thomas would drop out of GC contention altogether, while Yates lost about three and a half minutes on the day to a select group of GC riders that included Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang.
João Almeida took over the pink jersey on the day, with Caicedo narrowly missing out on the race lead and now sitting second overall on the same time as Almeida.
The 150-kilometer third stage of the Giro rolled out from Enna – where Thomas hit the deck – and saw Caicedo and seven others jump clear in the early goings to form the day’s breakaway. The peloton allowed the gap to grow out to a few minutes, and it hung at around five minutes for much of the way.
The pace in the peloton began to rise inside the last 40 kilometers, where rain began to fall. With around 30 kilometers to go, the peloton navigated a tricky moment as a dog in the road forced riders to break. Fortunately, no one crashed and the dog made it off the road unscathed.
The break took an advantage of around three minutes onto the climb, where Caicedo and Visconti quickly dropped the rest of the escapees. Behind, Thomas suddenly lost touch and within minutes his gap to the rest of the GC riders had grown insurmountable. With around 10 kilometers to go, Yates was dropped, although he managed to at least stay within a few minutes of the leaders as he went to work in a small group of chasers.
Caicedo soloed away from Visconti with around five kilometers to go, and although he never built up a huge advantage over the Italian veteran, he maintained a solid gap all the way up the rest of the climb. Meanwhile, the GC favorites began attacking each other a little ways down the mountain. Fuglsang tried unsuccessfully to leave the others behind, and then Kelderman put in a big dig that did manage to create some separation, forcing the others to chase.
Caicedo would take the stage 3 win 21 seconds ahead of Visconti with Vanhoucke securing third, 30 seconds back. Kelderman was the next rider across the line, 39 seconds down, with Fuglsang and Nibali in a small group at 51 seconds back and Steven Kruijswijk just behind, 56 seconds back. Almeida arrived 1:03 down, just good enough to move into the pink jersey.
Top 10, stage 3
1 CAICEDO Jonathan Klever (EF Pro Cycling) 4:02:33
2 VISCONTI Giovanni (Vini Zabù – KTM) 0:21
3 VANHOUCKE Harm (Lotto Soudal) 0:30
4 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 0:39
5 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 0:51
6 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe)
7 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo)
8 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan (INEOS Grenadiers)
9 POZZOVIVO Domenico (NTT Pro Cycling)
10 KRUIJSWIJK Steven (Team Jumbo-Visma) 0:56
Top 10, GC
1 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 7:44:25
2 CAICEDO Jonathan Klever (EF Pro Cycling)
3 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:37
4 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 0:42
5 VANHOUCKE Harm (Lotto Soudal) 0:53
6 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo) 0:55
7 POZZOVIVO Domenico (NTT Pro Cycling) 0:59
8 MCNULTY Brandon (UAE-Team Emirates) 1:11
9 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 1:13
10 KRUIJSWIJK Steven (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1:15
| Leezer, Albasini hang up the wheels after Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège was the final race in the careers of both Tom Leezer and Michael Albasini.
Leezer, 34, has spent the entirety of a pro career spanning well over a decade with the Jumbo-Visma organization, where he grew into a role as a reliable support rider. He announced in September that he would be retiring.
Albasini, 39, has ridden with Mitchelton-Scott since 2012. He is retiring from pro racing to become the coach of the Swiss national team.
| Hänninen renews with AG2R
Promising youngster Jaakko Hänninen will ride on with the AG2R La Mondiale organization, which will become AG2R Citroën next year, through 2024.
The 23-year-old Finn rode to a bronze medal at in the U23 road race at Worlds in 2018 and joined AG2R partway through last season.
| Moving Pictures
Peter Sagan had a bit of trouble getting back to his team after the second stage of the Giro d’Italia, so some fans gave him a tow.
In case you missed it
| Gallery: A damp and dramatic Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Images from Cor Vos, Kristof Ramon, and the Grubers and words from Iain Treloar tell the story of a dramatic day at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Today’s featured image of Jonathan Caicedo winning stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia comes from Cor Vos.