Yates 11th as wind fails to make the difference on stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia

Mon 13 May 2019

The third stage of the Giro d’Italia threatened carnage with strong winds the talk of the day, but a reluctant bunch saw a relatively defensive stage that finished in a bunch sprint. 

Having been perfectly protected all day by his Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates, Simon Yates finished towards the front in 11th place.

Italian champion Elia Viviani crossed the line first only to be relegated shortly after, handing Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) the victory.

Wary of winds:
The strong cross-tailwinds were the talk of the morning, as riders prepared for a nervous and hectic day on the road with splits expected.

But as racing got underway it was a calmer than expected start with just one solo breakaway rider, Sho Hatsuyama of Nippo-Fantini, battling the winds alone in front and the first 140km passing without the predicted stress. 

Surge of pace:
With a little over 80km remaining, Trek-Segafredo injected some serious pace in the bunch, stretching out the peloton and dramatically reducing the gap to under two minutes. 

Sensing the danger the general classification teams moved to the front and although no one was caught out, it was all back together with 75km still to race.

Calm before the sprint:
With the general classification and sprint teams happy to avoid the potential for carnage, the bunch rolled towards the finish together, teams spread across the road preventing any further attacks. 

The Mitchelton-SCOTT train maintained its position towards the front, using the likes of Jack Bauer, Brent Bookwalter, Luke Durbridge and Chris Juul-Jensen to protect their leader.

After a minor crash mid-field caused a little split in the final 10km, the sprint trains took over with Gaviria handed the victory and Yates rolling across the line in 12th, later promoted to 11th after Viviani's relegation.

Simon Yates:
“It was another long day here at the Giro. For me personally, not a lot happened. Alot of the crosswind that was expected wasn’t as favourable for splitting as we thought. It was more tailwind and then the parts that had crosswind were more protected. 

“The guys were incredible today, I don’t think I left the top 20 positions in the bunch all day and yet I still didn’t touch any wind."  

Matt White – Sport Director:
“It was still a pretty nervous day for the guys, but the protection was just enough so it wasn’t too open on the exposed sections to really split.  

“In the last hour to hour-and-a-half there was five teams spread across the road so no one wanted to attack and everyone was pretty happy to let it unfold in the sprint.

“Simon was third or fourth wheel coming into two kilometres to go and has crossed the line 11th. Our big boys looked after him incredibly well today, it’s just about managing the load as we’ve got the longest day of the race tomorrow. 

“There's always a surprise around the corner here at the Giro, there was a little crash inside 10km to go. Every guy in front of you is another potential for a crash so we were just holding position at the front to minimise risk.”

Giro d’Italia – Stage 3 Results:
1. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 5:23:19
2. Arnaud Demare (Groupama – FDJ) ST
3. Pascal Ackermann (BORA-Hansgrohe) ST
11. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST 

Giro d’Italia – General Classification after Stage 3:
1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 10:21:01
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +0:23

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.