Andrew Talansky of Garmin-Sharp has won Stage 3 of Paris-Nice and takes over the race lead amid pouring rain in Brioude on a day when a number of climbs smashed the peloton to pieces. The 24-year-old American won from a small group of seven riders that had managed to keep ahead of a small chasing group in the finale. Europcar's Davide Malacarne finished second on the stage, while Gorka Izagirre of Esukaltel was third. Team Sky's Vasil Kiryienka had a spectacular fall on a snaking descent as the stage neared its conclusion, but indications are that nothing was broken.
The Belarus rider’s crash came with a little over 10 kilometres to go, after he followed an attack from Astana’s Maxim Iglinsky on the descent from the Category 2 Cote de Mauvagnat towards the end of the 171lm stage from Châtel-Guyon.
Passing the Ukrainian to lead the way down, Kiryienka came through an S bend when suddenly he lost the back end of the bike, Iglinsky somehow managing to miss both the stricken rider and his Pinarello which had flown across the road.
Afterwards, Nicolas Portel, Team Sky sports director, said: “It was a shame that Kiri went down. It was tricky conditions and he was off the front at that moment. He has lost some skin on his right side but the team has checked him over and nothing is broken. He will be fine to start the stage tomorrow. He was smiling after the stage!”
Kiryienka’s chute apart, it was a good day for Sky. After their team mate’s crash, Richie Porte and David Lopez, together with Garmin-Sharp’s Talansky, managed to bridge across to join a small group of riders up the rode, and the seven would stay away until the finish.
However, it was Garmin-Sharp who had most to celebrate after Talansky – nicknamed Pit Bull – emerged from that group to win the stage and take the overall lead, roaring as he crossed the line.
Garmin-Sharp Sports Director Geert Van Bondt said: “Andrew and the team did a fantastic job today and met our objective of getting Andrew in a good position going into the final climb.
“We knew he had to be up front going in, and that he had to take the decent in a top 10 position, which he did. He then he made the split at the bottom of 7 riders, executing perfectly.
“Andrew and the team fought hard for today’s stage, it was an impressive team victory and victory for Andrew, who cleared the final meters perfectly, outsprinting a strong group after a long day.
“Taking the leader’s jersey was a great bonus, we’re happy and proud and looking forward to the coming stages.”
One rider who had a day to forget was Ivan Basso, who lost around 3 minutes on the leaders after having to change his rear wheel due to a puncture at a crucial moment.
Tomorrow looks like another tough day, with four Category 2 and three Category 3 climbs on the 199.5km route between Brioude and Saint-Vallier as the race continues its progression south.
Paris-Nice Stage 3 result 1 Andrew TALANSKY Garmin-Sharp 4:06:15 2 Davide MALACARNE Europcar Same time 3 Gorka IZAGUIRRE Euskaltel 4 David LOPEZ Sky 5 Richie PORTE Sky 6 Romain BARDET AG2R-La Mondiale 7 Andriy GRIVKO Astana 8 Jonathan HIVERT Sojasun at 7 seconds 9 Enrico GASPAROTTO Astana 10 Maxime BOUET AG2R-La Mondiale 11 Lieuwe WESTRA Vacansoleil-DCM 12 Diego ULISSI Lampre-Merida 13 Maxim IGLINSKY Astana 14 Nicolas ROCHE Saxo-Tinkoff 15 Alberto LOSADA Katusha 16 Bart DE CLERCQ Lotto-Belisol 17 Daniel NAVARRO Cofidis 18 Jean-Christophe PERAUD AG2R-La Mondiale 19 Arnold JEANNESSON FDJ 20 Peter VELITS Omega Pharma-Quick Step Overall standings after Stage 3 1 Andrew TALANSKY Garmin-Sharp 14:39:36 2 Andriy GRIVKO Astana at 3” 3 Davide MALACARNE Europcar 4 Sylvain CHAVANEL Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 4” 5 Gorka IZAGUIRRE Euskaltel at 5” 6 Lieuwe WESTRA Vacansoleil-DCM at 6” 7 Richie PORTE Sky at 7” 8 Peter VELITS Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 8” 9 David LOPEZ GARCIA Sky at 9” 10 Jonathan HIVERT Sojasun at 12”