André Greipel turned in an impressive performance yesterday, surviving the day’s stresses and taking the sprint finish in convincing style to secure his first maglia rosa. Stage 3 is a considerable step down in mileage compared to the opening couple of days, totalling a modest 148km as it covers a relatively flat course from Tortolì to Cagliari. There is little chance of the day’s breakaway surviving, thus the sprinters look assured of another opportunity to duke it out for stage honours on day three of 2017’s Giro d’Italia. Yesterday’s headwind had an impact upon the race and there will be somewhat of a consideration it may split the bunch during the today’s race to Cagliari as the winds pick up even more viciously; the GC contenders will be nervous.
André Greipel pulled off a surprise victory on yesterday’s stage, managing to maintain good condition while climbing, before navigating his way through an ideal sprint finish which saw him dominate the run to the line. Today appears to be another great opportunity for the German rider to pocket a Giro d’Italia stage victory, the shorter distance and simple finish should provide him with an ideal platform to charge home to victory.
Caleb Ewan was unfortunate to bump shoulders with rival Fernando Gaviria, after which he appeared to unclip one of his shoes, removing him from contention for the stage victory. The Aussie is eager to overturn his disappointment from the opening two days and this should be a simple enough day in the saddle for himself and the team. He is the fastest rider here, yet has so far come unstuck due to misfortune, but he should take the win if all goes to plan on day three.
Fernando Gaviria has not quite appeared as strong as many anticipated, however he lost touch with his leadout train on Stage 1 and ended up colliding with Caleb Ewan on Stage 2 after launching an early sprint into a headwind. These performances have made it difficult to truly gauge his form at the moment, though it does seem like he is slightly behind André Greipel and Caleb Ewan in regards to high end speed. Today’s finish is suiting enough for the Colombian and his Quick Step teammates will be able to conserve a greater amount of energy on this shorter stage.
Jasper Stuyven was a surprise presence on the podium yesterday and will be a strong contender to cause an upset if the winds truly begin scything through the peloton. The Belgian rider is highly skilled at surviving the attritional stresses of crosswinds, after which he may emerge as the fastest rider present in a lead group.
Giacomo Nizzolo should find the shorter stage distance to his liking as he attempts to ride himself into form during this opening week of the Giro d’Italia. His build up to the race has been far from ideal, making it very difficult to realistically estimate how he will perform on this short and flat stage which is normally favourable for the Italian champion. Regardless, if the expected winds do not prove too decisive, there is every chance he could feature in the mix.
Sacha Modolo saw his support man Roberto Ferrari finish second behind André Greipel on Stage 2, the former losing touch with his leadout man and thus allowing his teammate a chance at victory. Normal service shall resume tomorrow, but it will take a huge performance for Modolo to get the better of the three fastest riders here; Ewan, Greipel and Gaviria.
Other contenders include Enrico Battaglin, Phil Bauhaus and Ryan Gibbons.
1st Caleb Ewan 2nd André Greipel 3rd Fernando Gaviria