Chaves finishes safely in the bunch, Ewan gains valuable experience on stage three of the Giro

Sun 8 May 2016

ORICA-GreenEDGE finished just outside the top ten on stage three of the Giro d’Italia today as 21-year-old Australian Caleb Ewan contested another crowded bunch sprint after a flat and windy 190kilometres.

Colombian Esteban Chaves finished safely in the bunch alongside all the other contenders for the general classification while Ewan yet again found his path to the line blocked with no space to open up the engines. Sam Bewley hit the deck in the early parts of the race but thankfully suffered no serious injury and was able to finish the stage.

Sport director Matt White was happy the team have made it through the three hectic opening days without incident and can look forward to tomorrow’s rest day.

“The team really did a good job going into the last kilometres,” said White. “Caleb (Ewan) was in a good position in the finale but just got boxed in and wasn’t able to find the room to open up his sprint.”

“The difference between this race and most of the other races Caleb has competed in is the amount of world class sprinters there at the finish - there were eleven sprinters up there.

“The depth of the lead out trains completely changes the conditions and these last two stages will give Caleb lots of valuable experience for the future.”

“We achieved our objective of not losing any time on our rivals and got Esteban (Chaves) to the finish in good shape and without any problems so we can look forward to a day off tomorrow and get back into the racing on Tuesday.”

How it happened:

As had been the case for the previous two days large crowds and brilliant sunshine welcomed the riders to the start line of stage three with a flat parcours similar to that of stage of two covering 190kilometres between and around Nijmegen and Arnhem.

Another similarity to stage two was the early breakaway forming immediately out of the neutral zone. Dutch rider Maarten Tjanllingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) attacked and was followed by three other riders including Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fnatini) who was the last rider to be caught from the breakaway on stage two.

The peloton were content to let the quartet gain some time and after 40kilometres had been covered they had a lead of over six minutes. This lead stretched out to more than eight minutes before the bunch began to take control with around 120kilometres to go.

As would be expected on a long flat stage on Holland, the potential for strong winds to affect the racing was relatively high.

Sure enough, crosswinds were forcing the four leaders to race in a line across the road as the peloton intensified the chase behind. The four leaders held onto a steady advantage of five minutes for the next 50kilometres but with 70kilometres left their lead had fallen to four minutes and continued to decrease.

The winds were causing echelons to form in the peloton as the speed increased with the intensity of the chase.  The race was splitting apart every time the road opened out with the third group now 30seconds behind the peloton and the four leaders at three minutes with 60kilometres to go.

Going into the final 50kilometres and the third group had chased back onto the peloton with the four riders of the breakaway were only two minutes further up the road. The leaders maintained their two minute advantage on the bunch 20kilometres later as they approached the finish city of Arnhem and two closing circuits of 14kilometres.

Johan Van Zyl (Dimension-Data) attacked from the breakaway group with 12kilometres to go as more echelons formed behind in the chasing peloton. The South African had one minute over the bunch as his three former companions faded and a sizeable crash occurred in the peloton involving several riders from various teams.

The crash appeared to cause some confusion in the field as no team was taking control of the chase with sprinters looking around for teammates. ORICA-GreenEDGE were represented alongside Trek-Segafredo and Etixx-Quickstep, yet Van Zyl was still 50seconds ahead going into the final five kilometres.

The field came back together in the last two kilometres with the lead out for the sprint forming immediately. Kittel’s Etixx-Quickstep team controlled the front with the bunch and Ewan boxed in behind the German.

The stage two winner kicked for the line with Elia Viviani (Team-Sky) on his wheel but opened up a clear gap to take the victory with Ewan finishing 12th from the pack of riders behind the new race leader.

Tomorrow is a rest and transfer day as stage four takes place on Tuesday and is the first of this year’s race on Italian soil. Covering 191kilometres from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare, the parcours is predominantly flat with a few testing climbs coming in the last 60kilometres before a fast rolling road to the finish.

 Giro d’Italia stage three results:

1.  Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) 04:23:45
2.  Elia Viviani (Team-Sky) ST
3.  Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) ST
12. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST 

General classification after stage three:

1.  Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) 09:13:10
2.  Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 00:00:09
3.  Andrey Amador (Movistar) 00:00:15
22. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:39