Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa of Team Sky showed what other Giro d’Italia contenders will be up against with a strong 1-2 on stage three of Tour of the Alps.
The Welsh rider stormed to victory after an impressive ride from Team Sky catapulted the Brit into the overall lead. Race leader Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) struggled to keep up with Thomas after becoming isolated from his FDJ teammates.
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The third stage of the race was looking to be a fairly mundane state of affairs with Italian rider, Davide Orrico (Sangemini – MG.Kvis), setting the agenda with a solo break that was only caught at the base of the final climb.
As the race came towards the last climb of the day, a 9km uncategorised climb from Chiusa up to the finish in Klausen, Team Sky ramped up the pace with super domestique Philip Deignan taking the lead.
The British team looked in control juxtaposed with Thibaut Pinot who, bereft of teammates, stood alone in his fuchsia pink leaders jersey.
With five kilometres to go Hugh Carthy (Cannondale-Drapac) made a break from the peloton, forcing the likes of Thomas, Landa and Pinot to follow.
In the main group Thomas waited patiently, staying with overall race leader Pinot. Up the road, Pozzovivo and Landa battled it out, dropping Cataldo in the process. With 3.5km to go the pair had built a lead of 20 seconds and looked to be in control.
At the 2km mark the two leader held an 18 second lead and look set to contest the stage win before Thomas attacked from the chasing group.
The Welsh rider bridged the gap with just 500m to go, leaving Pinot in the main group behind. With two Team Sky riders outnumbering the solitary Ag2r rider, Thomas attacked in the final 300m, leading Landa across the line in a confident display a few weeks out from the Giro.
After that impressive victory, and with Pinot crossing the line in fifth place, 13 seconds down, Thomas moved from fourth to first overall.
The Tour of the Alps will continue on Thursday with a 165.3km from Bolzano to Cles, and will conclude in Trento on Friday.
Tour of the Alps 2017, stage three: Villabassa to Funes San Pietro (142km)
1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, in 3-47-50
2. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale, at 3 secs
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac, at 13 secs
5. Thibaut Piont (Fra) FDJ, at 13secs
6. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana, at 14 secs
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, at 14 secs
8. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 14 secs
9. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 14 secs
10. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, at 14 secs
General classification after stage three
1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, in 10-40-02
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale, at 16 secs
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 19 secs
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana, at 21 secs
5. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, at 31 secs
6. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky. at 36 secs
7. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 39 secs
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, at 42 secs
9. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac, at 46 secs
10. Danilo Celano (Ita) Italy, at 48 secs