BMC's Greg van Avermaet pips Peter Sagan and Zdenek Stybar on the line in a tight finish of stage three at Tirreno-Adriatico

Greg van Avermaet did on stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico what he failed to do at Sunday’s Strade Bianche: hold off Zdenek Stybar in the final kilometre and take the win.

The BMC rider found himself battling again with the Czech as the race reached its conclusion, but whereas on Sunday the Belgian ran out of gas, this time he held his sprint to the line to pip Peter Sagan and Stybar for the victory.

Sagan had to settle for the runners up spot for the second day in a row as he continues to search for his first win of the season.

>>> Greg Van Avermaet: I’m a clean rider

Of the day’s five-man break, only Giant-Alpecin’s Chad Haga and Bardiani-CSF’s Nicola Boem managed to hold out until the final 20 kilometres. Almost caught by the chasing pack at 22.5km, Haga and Boem clung on to their narrow advantage for another four kilometres before being hauled back in.

Tinkoff-Saxo led the peloton for swathes of the last 20km, with Ivan Basso taking charge to keep leader Alberto Contador out of trouble and to catapault Sagan into a position to attack the finish.

As the sprint trains jostled for position, BMC and Lotto-JumboNL took charge in the final five kilometres. Sagan kept himself on the wheels of his rivals as his teammates fell back, as did Trek Factory Racing’s Fabian Cancellara.

But it was Van Avermaet and Stybar who battled it out on the final uphill metres, with Sagan sneaking through to separate the pair. With the win, the BMC rider took control of the overall race, standing two seconds ahead of Sagan and eight up on former leader Adriano Malori.

Tirreno-Adriatico stage three: Cascina – Arezzo (203km)
Result

1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
2. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing
6. Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
7. Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky

General Classification
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 2sec
3. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team at 8sec
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing at 9sec
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 10sec
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team at 13sec
7. Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN – Qhubeka at 14sec
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team at 16sec
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN – Qhubeka
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team at 17sec

  • Jack Ibbotson

    Pippo 4th, looking forward to seeing him in the classics. outside bet on fflanders