Matt Goss won today’s third stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia as a mass pile-up caused by Roberto Ferrari took out world champion Mark Cavendish and race leader Taylor Phinney in the final metres.
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Cavendish was, somehow, able to pick himself up, shoulder his bike and walk across the line. Phinney was not so lucky, the young American left the race in an ambulance. It looked like his race was over, but he was however given a finish time and allowed to stay in the race. He later hobbled up on to the podium to receive his pink jersey.
It was a horrific crash, brought about by Androni Giocattoli rider Roberto Ferrari. The Italian was in fourth place with 150 metres to go as Goss lead the sprint, in full flight, up the centre of the road.
But with clear road to his left, Ferrari made a terrible decision and switched violently to his right. As he did so Cavendish was coming up on the same side, and although the world champ desperately tried to avoid Ferrari’s rear wheel, he had no chance.
He hit the deck hard on his left and before you could blink he was sprawling in the middle of the road with the bunch heading straight for him. Although one Farnese Vini rider miraculously bunny hopped over Cavendish there was no chance everyone could avoid him.
The resulting melee brought down Phinney, among others, and at first it appeared he may have broken his ankle. Luckily for him the injury turned out not to be as severe as first thought.
Ferrari was relegated to last place by the race commissaires.
Goss at last
It was the first sprint win for Goss this year as the Australian has struggled to repeat his 2011 form in his new Orica-GreenEdge colours. After being comfortably beaten by Cavendish yesterday, Goss got his timing spot on today.
No one team controlled the sprint after three laps of a 14.5km circuit around Horsens in Denmark, meaning each of the sprinters was left to do his own thing in the final. Goss was the one who positioned himself best coming in to the long, wide final straight.
The crash behind stopped others coming up from the rear, but even before it happened he looked like he had it in the bag. Cavendish had gone in to today as favourite after his dominant performance yesterday, but he lost the wheel of Geraint Thomas with around 2.5km to go. From there he jumped from wheel to wheel, but had to start his sprint from far back.
The riders will fly back to Italy tonight, although those affected by the crash may have to pay a visit to the hospital first. The rest day tomorrow will give those affected the chance to recover before Wednesday’s team time trial.
The race had started with a minute’s silence to remember Wouter Weylandt who tragically died on stage three of last year’s Giro. His RadioShack Nissan Trek (formerly Leopard Trek) team mates and friend Tyler Farrar stood at the front of the peloton, leading the remembrance.
Weylandt’s number from last years race, 108, has been rested from the race for this year and for ever more. “It means he’s always in the race with his number,” race director Michele Acquarone said.
Giro d’italia 2012 stage three: Horsens to Horsens, 190km
1. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 4-20-53
2. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
4. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
5. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
8. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini all same time
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing 9-24-31hrs
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 9 secs
3. Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin-Barracuda at 13 secs
4. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank at 15 secs
5. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda at 18 secs
6. Gustav Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM at 22 secs
7. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 23 secs
8. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 23 secs
9. Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing at 24 secs
10. Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan at 26 secs
Crash near the finish line
Matt Goss wins the third stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia
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