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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, May 8, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

To be is to do - Socrates.
To do is to be - Jean-Paul Sartre.
Do be do be do - Frank Sinatra.

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Giro d'Italia stage 3 team reports

We'll start with stage winner Fernando Gaviria's Team Quick-Step Floors news:

Fernando Gaviria made history at the Giro d'Italia, at the end of a day in which Quick-Step proved its tactical masterclass, shattering the bunch in the heavy crosswinds with ten kilometers remaining, breaking away and opening a gap which turned out to be insurmountable for the chasers until the end of the stage.

After the three-man escape which got to stay in the spotlight for most of the day was reabsorbed by the nervous pack, six of our riders put the hammer down on the beautiful Sardinian coast and quick-step-ed the peloton on the run-in to Cagliari, dropping all bar four riders.

Laurens De Plus, Fernando Gaviria, Bob Jungels, Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli and Maximiliano Richeze were the ones who lit up the stage, after Eros Capecchi, Dries Devenyns and Pieter Serry had previously set the pace at the head of the pack, going into the last 20 kilometers. The sextet ensured numerical advantage for Quick-Step Floors in the front group, who continued to power ahead and hold onto the 15-20 second advantage over the bunch, which included all the other sprinters and GC contenders.

Luxembourg Champion and TT powerhouse Bob Jungels – the 2016 Giro d'Italia white jersey – led the group as they went under the flamme rouge, his all-out effort laying the foundations for the victory as they drew closer to the finish line. Then, Maximiliano Richeze stepped in and countered an attack of Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), before Fernando Gaviria emerged from his wheel and sprinted to his first Grand Tour victory, capitalizing at the end of the day on the superb work of his teammates, who showed their vast classics experience in the way they rode the stage's final kilometers.

"It goes without saying this is the best day of my career! To win a stage at the Giro and take the leader's jersey is a dream come true. My teammates did a wonderful job today and I want to say a big thanks for how they rode, protecting me throughout the stage and then setting me up for this victory", said Fernando, only the fourth Colombian rider to lead the Giro d'Italia.

Quick-Step Floors' sprinter, who had a peak power of 1468W in the sprint, hitting a maximum speed of 61.9km/h, continued: "What made things even more special was to have my family at the finish and celebrate this success with them. I worked hard to get here, I made many sacrifices, trained day after day and remained focused all the time, and to get such a reward is incredible. Tonight, I will go to sleep with the pink jersey on my shoulders."

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria is the day's fastest

The 22-year-old, who nabbed Quick-Step Floors' 60th win in a Grand Tour, also leads the best young rider classification; in addition to these, our riders' fantastic collective effort in Sunday's tough crosswinds took the squad to the top of the team standings, which means Quick-Step Floors now control three of the race's classifications.

"We were aware the wind could play a huge role today and as soon as we took that corner and had the coast on our right side, the team rode full gas. From that point on, it was a team time trial until the finish, with the guys driving a hard tempo without ever looking back. Our move was a textbook one and I couldn't be prouder of the entire team, who rode selflessly. First two days weren't the easiest for us, but we bounced back in style today and we are very happy", concluded Gaviria, the youngest ever Colombian rider to triumph in a Grand Tour stage and at the same time lead a three-week race, after Quick-Step Floors' 25th victory of the season.

Bora-hansgrohe posted this report:

The third stage of the Giro d´Italia was marked by heavy cross-winds, which made the race really hard. But Sprinter Rudi Selig showed his sprinter skills and takes a strong second place at today´s stage in Cagliari.

Stage 3 was the last stage on Sardinia before the peloton travel to Sicilia. The stage was earmarked for the sprinters in the peloton, because the 148km stage was totally flat. The weather played an important role at today´s stage due to corss-winds.

Right from the start the pace was high and after some kilometers of racing a group of 4 riders went up the road. They built soon a gap of more than 2 minutes to the peloton. Lotto – Soudal worked hard in front of the main bunch to protect their Maglia Rosa. The team of BORA – hansgrohe rode together safely in the peloton to save the energy for the upcoming finale.

At 20km before the finish the trio was caught by the peloton and everything was set up for the bunch sprint. BORA – hansgrohe stayed in a good position and waited for the last kilometers. The heavy cross-wind made the race pretty hard, but Quick-Step Floors took their chances and turned the race into a team time trail. Sprinter Rudi Selig was able to stay on the wheels of Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and went in the first group with another 10 riders, which had a gap of 20 seconds to the main bunch,

The last kilometer Quick- Step Floors raised the pace, due to the heavy cross-wind many riders were dropped but BORA – hansgrohe sprinter Rudi Selig was always in a good position in the first group. Unfortunately, Gaviria was too strong today, he took the win and Rudi finished second place.

Teammate Lukas Pöstlberger is still 3rd in the GC at the 100th Giro d´Italia.

“Sardinia was amazing for BORA – hansgrohe. These three days were incredible for us. The team are in a good flow, work for each other and take every chance. I am really happy about the performance of our team.” – Jens Zemke, sports director

“I had goose bumps on the last final kilometers. I really wanted to get on the podium today so I fought very hard. In the end, Gaviria was too fast but I am more than happy with my second place.” – Rudi Selig

And here's Trek-Segafredo's Giro report:

Stage three of the Giro d'Italia was shorter and flatter, but heaps more stressful. Today the headwind that plagued the peloton in the first two days turned into a gusting crosswind with 13 kilometers to go that wreaked havoc on the peloton.

Everyone knew the point the crosswinds were coming, and it was a nervous bunch fighting for position ahead of the critical turn in direction. Trek-Segafredo pushed to the front just ahead of the perilous moment, and when the Quick-Step Floors team turned on the jets, Giacomo Nizzolo was in prime position. Their effort resulted in a group of 10, six from Quick-Step, to splinter off the front and Nizzolo was safely on the fast train headed for home.

"I was in the front group with Quick-Step, and of course they did great teamwork," said Nizzolo. "They did their best to win, and I tried to do the best I could do against them. Of course, with the condition I have, I paid for the full gas effort for the last 10 kilometers."

In the end, the concerted effort from Quick-Step proved too much for Giacomo who, already at his limit, was forced to close a gap with just over a kilometer to go. When Fernando Gaviria launched the sprint, he found himself pinched between two riders, and the moment of hesitation left him in a distant third. Despite the late impediment, Nizzolo knew he did not have the legs to match the speed of Gaviria, who easily sprinted to the victory and into the pink jersey.  For Nizzolo, it was incredible that he was part of the small lead group that formed in the crosswinds, and a testament to his savvy and technical skill.

"Tactically, I think I was perfect, and the legs were just missing that little bit again so I couldn't ask more today," added Nizzolo. "I am not frustrated. As I said, this was probably the best result I could have. I work every day to do my best and today the best was the third place."

Meanwhile, Bauke Mollema arrived safely with the first peloton that finished 13 seconds later, thanks to a strong, united team that guided Mollema through the hectic finale. Honerable mention goes to Jasper Stuyven, who cast aside any personal ambition to lead into the crosswind section with Nizzolo and Mollema safely tucked behind.

"It was stressful with 50kms to go already," said Mollema. "Everyone knew that with 13kms to go it turned left and it was full crosswind and everyone wanted to be in front. We were where we needed to be, especially Jasper and Mads (Pedersen) who did a really good job, and Laurent (Didier) and Eugenio (Alafaci) too, to bring me in good position to this point. Then after one-two kilometers Quick-Step suddenly attacked and Giacomo reacted really well and it was perfect for us.  He did a good sprint, and behind we were in the front so I was never in any big problems."

Rohan Dennis crashed. Here's BMC's report:

Strong winds on the final day in Sardinia made for a fast and nervous third stage of the Giro d’Italia, with Rohan Dennis crashing in the final 10km to lose more than five minutes at the finish line.

After a longer-than-predicted stage 2, the peloton set a fast pace throughout the 148km stage from Tortoli and allowed four riders to form the day’s breakaway in the opening kilometer.

Knowing the winds would increase in the final 60km, the peloton kept the breakaway under control and the advantage reached a maximum of 3’30”. The four riders became three after Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) dropped back to the peloton, and inside the final 100km the breakaway’s advantage began to fall.

With 26km to go, the catch was made and the peloton battled for position with strong crosswinds causing riders to drop off the back of the bunch. Knowing the final 15km was a risk, BMC Racing Team had a strong presence at the front of the peloton before ten riders went clear and gained 20 seconds on the bunch.

It was at this moment that Dennis suffered an untimely crash and was forced to chase back, a task made difficult by the strong crosswinds and fast pace set by the peloton trying to catch the front group.

Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep-Floors) won the sprint from the front group and inherited the Maglia Rosa, and Tejay van Garderen finished safely in the main bunch, 13 seconds behind Gaviria. Dennis crossed the line in the last group, 5’22” behind. The peloton enjoys the first of three rest days on Monday as the race transfers from Sardinia to Sicily.

Rohan Dennis:

“It was about 10km to go and we were making an echelon to try and bring that front group back. A Bardiani-CSF guy came around me as I was trying to start it, or trying to help start it, and he just turned left on my front wheel and took me out. So I didn’t even have a chance, there was no split second where I could try and hold it up. I was down on my right side before I knew it.”

“The shower hurt. But mainly my neck hurts, I’ve got a bit of a headache. It’s just the jarring of going down, but I’ll see the osteo and get that fixed. I’ll continue as normal [on stage 4]. Obviously, I’m five minutes or so down and I think that’s a pretty big margin already after three days. Anything can happen and I’m not just going to throw in the towel and just go ‘oh stuff it’, but I have to be realistic and say look, GC is pretty well done and I’m just going to have to keep doing what I was planning to do and ride as if it isn’t done and still get that experience and look after myself for a full three weeks.”

Tejay van Garderen:

“It was a fast day with a high average speed. I think we must have finished half an hour ahead of schedule or something like that. It was a tough day along the coast. We knew the wind was going to be nervous, we had earmarked the section in the meeting where it could split, and it definitely split there. But, we were well-prepared. We didn’t lose time to any GC guys, other than Bob Jungels (Quickstep-Floors) who got a few seconds. It’s a pity about Rohan and what happened to him. But I think we made it off this island pretty well.”

Maximilian Sciandri, Sports Director:

“As I said even yesterday, islands are dangerous. I checked the weather this morning and I saw Cagliari with 70km per hour wind so I thought this is going to be a hard one. Full stress from when we hit the coast. Then it was a slight tailwind which was ok and then we went to the coastline and from there it just became the most stressful part. We saw one key point with 13km to go, which was that big roundabout and almost every team tried to be there. Ups and downs. We lost Rohan who crashed, got hit by a Bardiani guy, and is pretty disappointed. He lost a pretty big amount of time. But, the other side of it is that Tejay was safe into the finish with his teammates around him.”

Dr. Giovanni Ruffini on Rohan Dennis:

"Rohan Dennis went down on his right side at a high speed so naturally has a fair bit of road rash and superficial contusions. He has a sore neck which is a result of the crash but usually, nothing the team's physiotherapist can't fix. We will see how Rohan wakes up tomorrow but he is lucky to escape with nothing serious and he will be able to continue racing."

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