Luca Paolini (Katusha) won the third stage of the Giro d’Italia, also claiming the maglia rosa after a late attack at the end of an exciting 222km race to Marina di Ascea.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Sky) remains second overall and 17 seconds down on the new race leader with Sky teammate Rigoberto Uran currently third in the same time.
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The 36-year-old Paolini, in his Giro debut, made a late attack within the final 10km to celebrate a solo victory finishing 16 seconds ahead of Australian Cadel Evans (BMC) who won a small group sprint from defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), who was third.
Evans and Hesjedal, importantly, picked up times bonuses with their respective efforts after disappointing runs in yesterday’s team time trial.
Hesjedal was extraordinary in the closing stages of the race from Sorrento. On the Sella di Catona the Canadian attacked and in doing so forced a major selection on the technical descent that also played host to minor crashes.
Some pundits on social media questioned the tactic – that insiders later deemed purposeful. Regardless, it lit-up the stage, forced overall rivals to chase, and very early in the first Grand Tour of the season.
A seven-man break including Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Manuele Boaro (Team Saxo-Tinkoff), Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Bert De Backer (Team Argos-Shimano), Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto Belisol) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli) marked the main break escape of the race, getting away in Sorrento.
The group achieved a maximum time advantage of around six minutes before teams including Sky and Omega Pharma-Quick Step moved to the front to close the gap.
The break began to splinter, with De Backer spat out the back, on the first of the two defining climbs of the stage where sprinters initially lost contact.
As the time advantage whittled down Taborre surged off the front but ultimately to no avail. Garmin-Sharp came to the fore within the final 30km were Hesjedal then accelerated. It forced a small group of some 20 riders, including Wiggins, to bridge across. Already the overall classifcation has started to take shape after just three days of racing.
The Giro continues tomorrow with stage four’s 246km run, which doubles as the longest of the tour. Stage four preview, including info, map and profile>>
Giro d’Italia 2013, stage three: Sorrento to Marina di Ascea, 222km
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha in 5-43-50
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 16 secs
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
5. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
7. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky
9. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco all at same time
17. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at same time
82. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar at 8-27
113. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 8-27
180. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp at 14-17
191. Steve Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing at 14-17
194. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing at 17-07
Overall classification after stage three
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha in 9-04-32
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 17 secs
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 17 secs
4. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar at 26 secs
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 31 secs
6. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana at 31 secs
7. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 34 secs
8. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 36 secs
9. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha at 36 secs
10. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 37 secs
12. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 42 secs
15. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 45 secs
78. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar at 8-37
85. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 8-56
154. Steve Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing at 14-55
186. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp at 17-56
194. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing at 20-06
Sky lead the peloton early in the race for overnight leader Salvatore Puccio
Jarlinson Pantano heads the early escape group
Ryder Hesjedal animated the latter half of the day’s action-packed stage
Luca Paolini broke free to take the stage win
Luca Paolini in the overall lead
Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info
Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2013: Photo galleries
Photos by Graham Watson