The crowds were out in force today at the Giro d’Italia as the riders left Hungary behind and cut their teeth on the first stage in Italy, and what a beautiful sight it was.
Mt. Etna looks a real beast of a volcano (obvious comment alert) , hugely impressive even on the screen in hazy conditions, which the course profile map bears out.
A 14 man break went clear after about 30 minutes of riding, consisting of Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Villella, Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Mauri Vansevenant (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën).
Miguel Angel López of Astana is out of the Giro d’Italia, the news broke just as the stage started. One GCN+ commentator who said “I don’t want to start a rumour” and then went on to do just that, ruminating that perhaps the team management had asked the team to support Nibali in a bid to win on Etna. Anyone that remember’s Lopez’s time at Movistar (as seen on the Movistar documentary in Netflix) will know he’s a hothead, but nonetheless it seemed a tad wild to speculate without any information to back it up.
[It was a bad hip that caused Lopez to drop out – Ed.]
The fact though is that he is out and he was the GC leader on the team, and Nibali may have been planning to deliberately lose time to be able later to sneak off the front for a stage win. That plan may have changed now, we will have to wait and see.
I met Nibali when he came over for the Taiwan KOM Challenge back in 2017 and set a new course record for the 85km 3275m climb with a quite ridiculous time of 3h 19m 54s. Seemed quite shy but a nice lad, and the vicious last 8km didn’t seem to faze him at all. He had just come from a 2nd place the the Vuelta so he had some decent training behind him!
The break on Stage 3 had a 10 minute lead at one point but with 60km to go the lead was coming down, sitting at 7:30 minutes.
46km to go and despite a brief flurry of tension thanks to a little side wind that came to nothing, it was still pretty much a waiting game.
So let’s take a look at some of the good and the bad of the team jerseys in this year’s Giro.
Ag2r were famous for having a bad jersey for years (and those old faded brown shorts (perfect for a day with bad guts), but I do like this version, clean and striking.
Bora’s kit is slightly reminiscent of the famous La Vie Claire kit – just a little – and I like it.
And the bad:
I don’t have the words but maybe, ‘Just, no’ will suffice for this Bardiani kit.
100 euro a pop to sponsor Drone Hopper, it seems! Busy.
EF’s jersey (and the green shorts do it no favours) looks like it was taken to a rave in 1990, took a tab of acid and threw up over itself. Trippin’ its t%ts off.
Moving on but still speaking of ill-conceived jerseys, what were Pas Normal Studios thinking? Is it just me or does anyone else read this as, well, the male reproductive organ?
Anyway, back to the action! 38km to go and the break started to ascend, and it wasn’t going to relent from there on in. 6’39 to the peloton.
30-odd km to go and the Alpecin-Fenix rider in the break, Stefano Oldani (Italy) decided attack, taking 3 bonus seconds in the last intermediate sprint. He quickly built a lead of 41 seconds over the 13 men behind..
5’21 to the peloton.
The break started to splinter but came back together.
Behind it was Ineos who kept pushing on as they had been all day, for Carapaz, the best placed of the GC hopefuls. VDP went out the back.
The break started to splinter, with the strong riders separating themselves from the rest.
Oldani’s lead with 17km to go was 47 seconds and dropping.
With 15km to go Oldani was the virtual Maglia Rosa on the road!
5 minutes to the peloton and it looked like the break may win the race, with the Italian in pole position and looking good.
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) took off from the chasers to try to chip back the lead of Oldani.
Back in the remainder of the peloton and Ineos were still forcing the issue with Carapaz looking ready to pounce.
Lopez quickly made in roads on the leader, he had him in his sights. Mauri Vansevenant of Quick Step, who was in the break, had a chance to take Pink, but the lack of time updates was making it difficult to gauge.
Lopez (Trek Segafredo) dropped Oldani with 10km to go.
Graphics came back and it was 5’15 to the peloton.
7.3km to go and it was 4’34 to the peloton. 38 seconds from Lopez to the remainder of the break. Only three men were left, including Vansevenant.
Carapaz looked he might be in difficulty but made his way back to his teammates.
Kamna of Bora left the three to chase Lopez.
Nibali, a native of Sicily, dropped. Bad day for Astana.
The main GC men were at it and at 3’52, the group slimmed out.
3.7km to go and Lopez had 15 seconds as the road flattened.
Kamna joined Lopez with 2km to go.
Both were on for the stage win and the Maglia Rosa on for Lopez.
The road flattened out.
And Lopez messed up the last corner, he hits the bars as he comes 2nd but he takes Pink, dreamland stuff!
The stage goes to Kamna!
Ineos used up so much power to not win the stage basically. Smart racing? Well they dropped some of the GC favourites but that would have happened anyway. There’s a long way to go but that might come back to bite them.
Well done to Lopez and Kamna!
Lopez looked happy in the end though.
Kanma said “yes, it worked out really great, and maybe we (he and Lopez) had a silent agreement.’
Didn’t really look that way though! Lopez looked miffed. But he’ll be miffed in Pink!