Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) bounced back to win stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico ahead of from Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).
Démare led the bunch into the final left-handed, tight turn 300m from home, powering ahead of his sprinting rivals on the cobbles before the diminutive figure of Caleb Ewan cleverly used his slipstream to launch of the Frenchman's back wheel.
Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) rounded off the final spot on the podium, but Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) still leads the general classification by 11 seconds over Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).
HOW IT HAPPENED
The riders entered the third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico expecting a fairly simple ride towards Terni across 179km of racing. Despite being an undulating route, the peloton would have expected an relatively easy race to control before culminating in a bunch sprint.
However, Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) was a notable omission from the third stage, the Slovakian rider failing to make the start line after falling ill.
Filippo Ganna came into the stage as the leader of the general classification, 11 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and 17 in front of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
A breakaway group of several riders formed early into the race, with the stage's toughest climb to La Foce coming after just 30km. A 5.4km long climb averaging a 4.6 per cent gradient, Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa) reached the top of the day's only classified climb first to extend his KOM classification lead.
The gap between the peloton and the breakaway riders stayed steady throughout the middle portion of the race, as the riders headed towards the intermediate sprint in Amelia. Just under 30km from the finish line. Pogačar won the sprint ahead of Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) and Julian Alaphillipe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), before the trio simply decided to continue their acceleration after the last uphill section of the day.
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) oined the breakaway group, causing some panic within the peloton as the riders worked harder than they would've desired to stop the leaders 30 seconds up the road. The technical final descent eventually saw the peloton catch up to the quartet of riders, ahead of the final, entirely flat, 13km.
Circling the city of Terni, the peloton had to navigate some technical turns and key roundabouts, which included notable pinch points to stretch the riders out with less than 5km to go.
The lead out teams of Jumbo-Visma and TotalEnergies attempted to gain a strong foothold in the race just a couple of kilometres from the line, but it was Arnaud Démare setting the tempo heading into the final turn of the race 300m from the line, a technical left-hander. The Frenchman navigated it perfectly and seemed capable of holding on, but Caleb Ewan launched himself off the back of Démare to snatch victory with mere metres left.
Ewan disappointingly crossed the line 15th on the second stage, unable to put up a challenge to Tim Merlier after falling out of position on the narrow run to the finale. However, the Australian managed to turn his fortunes around with his third victory of the season on the third stage today, despite suffering from mechanical issues midway through the race.
He had to stop multiple times to have his chain reattached and then to switch bikes, but this did little to dampen Ewan's spirits as he powered to victory in the bunch sprint to Terni.
TIRRENO-ADRIATICO 2022, STAGE THREE: MURLO TO TERNI (170KM)
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal, in 4-07-24
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa–Samsic
5. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
6. Pascal Akermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
7. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Victorious
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
9. Elia Viviani (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
10. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, all at same time
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE THREE
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, in 9-48-40
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step AlphaVinyl, at 11 seconds
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 14s
4. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step AlphaVinyl, at 24s
5. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel - Premier Tech, at 25s
6. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM, at 28s
7. Tobias Ludviggson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ, at 32s
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 33s
9. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco, at 39s
10. Lawson Craddock (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco, at same time
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