Crash on final lap disrupts stage three final at Coppi e Bartali

Sat 24 Mar 2018

The peloton was split in two and carrying a high pace into the closing circuit on stage three of Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali today when a huge crash took out half the group and along with it Mitchelton-SCOTT’s chance of contesting the final.

Thankfully fourth place overall Lucas Hamilton escaped unharmed alongside former Tour of Denmark winner Chris Juul Jensen and Kiwi Sam Bewley who were also caught behind the spill.

The crash totally changed the face of the final lap with Chris Lawless (Team-Sky) taking the stage win from a fractured and reduced bunch sprint. Although it wasn’t all bad for Mitchelton-SCOTT and despite the disruption Hamilton moved up fourth and was joined in the top ten by Juul Jensen in sixth.

Decisive Moments:

It was an attacked filled first hour of racing in Cavelcore and it took that long for the breakaway to finally form with seven riders allowed up the road and a gap of two minutes 20seconds with 80kilometres left to race.

There was no significant change until the pace lifted going into the closing 45kilometres. First EF-Drapac accelerated at the head of the peloton followed by Mitchelton-SCOTT, with the attcaks simultaneously bringing the leaders within sight and splitting the bunch in half.

Moments later the front half of the peloton passed the break with Bewley and Michael Albasini up there driving the pace for Hamilton and Juul Jensen.

The group was made up of around 45riders speeding into the final lap and maintaining one minutes advantage on the nearest chasers. The scene looked set for a classic bunch sprint until a bug crash split the front group, taking down both Hamilton and Juul Jensen.

A reduced bunch were now clear and shaping up for a hectic sprint with Lawless sealing the win as the rest of the field were attempting in vain to chase back on.

Lucas Hamilton – 4th GC:

“The guys were incredible today, we were really keen to throw it in the gutter through the crosswind going into the final laps and for a four-man team we kept the pace high until a few other teams recognised that the gap was growing and started to come through for a turn. That really shook the race up.”

“I couldn’t do anything about the crash it was right in front of me and there was nowhere to go. I’m lucky that I didn’t go down too heavily and that it was inside three kilometres to go so we didn’t lose any time on GC and it’s great to see us racing positively and actually moving up a couple of spots.”

Sport director Gene Bates:

“It was a fairly steady start to the day, but once the break went up the road it was never really allowed much rope, so early on we started looking at the wind situation and deciding that we would try to lift the pace and cause some splits at the 40kilometre mark to see if we could shake things up.”

“Cannondale got in there before us, which brought the break back but also the bunch,so we drove hard and this time the peloton split in half and from then until the crash the gap was growing.

“Fortunately, we didn’t suffer any injuries in the crash, but it put an end to our chance for the stage result. We rode really well, especially considering that we lost Svein Tuft to sickness this morning and that left us with four guys riding really positively.

“It’s great see Lucas move up a couple of spots overall and now lead the young riders classification, he might not get to wear the jersey in tomorrow’s time trial , but he will be giving it his all to hold on to that fourth spot and maybe move up."

Coppi e Bartali stage three results:

1. Chris Lawless (Team-Sky)

2. Paolo Toto (Sangemini-MG.Kvis-Vega)

3. Lorenzo Rota (Bardiani-CSF)

General classification after stage three:

 1. Diego Rosa (Team-Sky) 09:52:46

2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +0:07

3. Richard Carapaz (Movistar) +0:38

4. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:47

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.