Lucas Hamilton retains the race lead after a tough day at Coppi e Bartali

Fri 29 Mar 2019

Australian Lucas Hamilton held onto the leader’s jersey after some strong work from his Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates on stage three of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

An impressive team performance kept the breakaway in check all day before the squad increased the pace to prevent potential attacks on the final lap of seven.

Seven Laps, Seven Climbs

Stage three of the race consisted of seven laps on the outskirts of Forli, each including the short but punishing climb of the Rocca delle Caminate.

It was a frantic opening lap with numerous attempts to form a breakaway halted. The Movistar Team were keeping a keen eye on the composition of the escapees until they and the peloton finally allowed seven riders to get away heading onto the second lap.

The gap to the break went out to a maximum of just over three minutes, but as the race approached three laps to go their advantage began to fall rapidly as the pace picked up behind.

The Finale

With Mitchelton-SCOTT setting a high tempo in the bunch, the gap to the break dropped below one minute as the numbers in both the break and peloton began to reduce with 30 kilometres to go.

Just 10 kilometres later and the race was all back together with the day looking set for a showdown on the final passage of the Rocca delle Caminate. However, the strong pace being set at the head of the reduced bunch prevented anyone from attacking clear over the summit.

With the climbs dealt with and the breakaway reeled in, it was all set for a bunch sprint between the 50 or so riders remaining at the head of the race. In the end it was (Neri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM) who timed his sprint perfectly to take the win, with Hamilton finishing safely in the bunch.

Lucas Hamilton:
“It was tough circuit today, we did the climb seven times and it had a lot of hairpins on it so it made positioning key. But our whole team is in such great form that it was always pretty much under control all day.”

“The team were amazing, a special shout out to Sam Bewley and Cameron Meyer today, they made it to the last lap to the bottom of the final climb after pulling all day which was incredible.”

“Then on the final climb Damien Howson had everything covered, Landa tried to attack but we had numbers there which deterred people from trying to go."

"Tomorrow is flat so on paper it seems like an easier sort of day but last year there were crosswinds on the same circuit and it split to pieces so we’ll be paying attention." 

Matt Wilson (Sports Director):
“It was another fantastic effort by the guys today, they controlled it from the start after letting a small break go.” 

“We were happy to the let the break stay away but other teams had different ideas and wanted to bring it back for a finish, so in the end it came back for a reduced sprint. But the boys controlled it well and they all finished safely in the front group.”

“Tomorrow is a sprint a stage so I hope it's uneventful from our point of view... Then the last day is super hard so we’ll have to do our best to control it and hang onto the jersey.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 3 Results:

1. Simone Velasco (Neri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM) 4:01:50
2. Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec) ST
12. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali GC After Stage 3:
1. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 10:25:33
2. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:16
3. Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:16

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.