Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes) made it two wins on the trot today as Mark Cavendish (Columbia High Road) suffered a bad day at the office finishing over a minute down and surrendering the leader's jersey to Petacchi.
American Tyler Farrar finished second, despite riding the final kilometres with only one gear when the cable was ripped from his bike's rear mech in a crash. The Italian Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre) was third as the Italians claimed two of the top three finishing spots – not quite as rare a feat as yesterday's two Brits in the top 3.
Cavendish was unlucky to be caught in the wrong place 10Km from the finish when the peloton was split by a crash, and the effort of getting back up to the lead group proved too much and he was dropped with 4Km to go from the finish. Ben Swift (Katusha), the other Brit who finished in yesterday's top three also had to take a bit of the rough today after yesterday's smooth finish, he crashed 40Km from the finish and lost a lot of time waiting for a replacement wheel.
Today's stage was a relatively flat 198Km with some climbs chucked in to the final third and an uphill finish following a 20km circuit of Valdobbiadene. The main attack of the day came after only 9Km when five riders got away,. Giuseppe Palumbo (Acqua e Sapone), Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R), Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Björn Schröder (Milram) quickly built up a lead of seven minutes which then started to be reeled in then went out again before the peloton, and Liquigas in particular, decided enough was enough. They were caught 35Km from the finish.
By then the other big drama as far as the race for the overall had already occurred with Christian Vandevelde crashing out and being taken to hospital.
The next crash of the day had repercussions for the stage win and the overall with Petacchi being well placed near the front of the pack to squeeze past the crash 10Km from the finish which narrowed the road so that only one rider at a time could pass – while Mark Cavendish was not. By the end the the peloton had re-grouped enough to make it seem like we would be in for a typical sprinting melee.
Petacchi though made it all look easy as the field swept up Giovanni Visconti (ISD) who had made a brave break for the line catching the previous lone break away Bruseghin (Lampre) who had attacked with 3km to go.
The big Italian sprinter now leads the overall classification from Tyler Farrar (Garmin Slipstream) who finished second today. Lance Armstrong is coming up on the rails moving up the GC from 10th to 5th just 31 seconds off the pace as the race prepares to move in to the mountains tomorrow.
Giro D'Italia 2009 Top 10 Stage 3
1 Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) 4.45.27 (41.618km/h)
2 Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Slipstream)
3 Francesco Gavazzi (ILampre - N.G.C.)
4 Dario Cataldo (Quick Step)
5 Damiano Cunego (Lampre - N.G.C.)
6 Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto)
7 Oscar Gatto (ISD)
8 Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad)
9 Anders Lund (Team Saxo Bank)
10 Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo )
Giro D'Italia 2009 Top 10 General Classification
1 Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 8.50.06
2 Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Slipstream) 0.08
3 Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad) 0.18
4 Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad)
5 Lance Armstrong (Astana) 0.31
6 Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 0.40
7 Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) 0.44
8 Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
9 Andriy Grivko (ISD) 0.45
10 Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre - N.G.C.) 0.52
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.