Giro d'Italia stage 3: Paolini wins on final descent to take pink
One-day specialist has his day in the sun as GC contenders let him go on last descent
Luca Paolini took the spoils on stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia as the stage sparked into life with a no-holds barred descent of the Sella di Catona contested by the big guns. Cadel Evans finished second in the sprint of non-sprinters, and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal came in third.
As is ever the case, a break went out although it was kept at a reasonable distance by the peloton. Fabio Taborre, Manuele Boaro, Willem Wauters, Jarlison Pantano, Bert De Backer, Dirk Bellemakers and Jackson Rodriguez were the men that went up the road, their lead increasing to seven minutes before the peloton stepped up the pace to reel them back in. Taborre went off the front on a solo mission with 50km to go but with 25km, and just the ascent of the Sella di Catona and the descent to the finish to go, he was swallowed up by the lead riders. Salvatore Puccio slid out of contention on the final climb to relinquish the Maglia Rosa which passes to Paolini.
Hesjedal attacked with 25km to go and then went again with Valerio Agnoli and Luca Paolini over the top of the climb and onto the tight and technical descent to the finish. Carlos Alberto Betancur and Tanel Kangert both put their bike in a hedge on the way down as Hesjedal and the lead group pushed the pace on the downhill.
A final short climb brought a group including all the main favourites together, with around 20 riders hitting the last descent together. Luca Paolini jumped off the front with 7km to go with Blanco Pro Cycling chasing at the head of the main group, but both Blanco riders, and Michele Scarponi of Lampre, went down on a hairpin 4km from the end. Scarponi had to wait for a new bike, losing a hatful of time.
Giro d’Italia Stage 3 result 1 PAOLINI Luca KAT 05:43:50 2 EVANS Cadel BMC Same time 3 HESJEDAL Ryder GRS 4 SANTAMBROGIO Mauro VIN 5 SANCHEZ Samuel EUS 6 CARUSO Giampaolo KAT 7 WEENING Pieter OGE 8 WIGGINS Bradley SKY 9 INTXAUSTI Benat MOV 10 GESINK Robert BLA 11 KISERLOVSKI Robert RLT 12 DANIELSON Thomas GRS 13 SANTAROMITA Ivan BMC 14 URAN Rigoberto SKY 15 AGNOLI ValerioI AST 16 TROFIMOV Yury KAT 17 NIBALI Vincenzo AST 18 HENAO Sergio Luis SKY at 00:36 19 BATTAGLIN Enrico BAR 00:49 20 VISCONTI Giovanni MOV 00:50 Overall standings after Stage 4 1 PAOLINI Luca KAT 09:04:32 2 WIGGINS Bradley SKY 00:17 3 URAN Rigoberto SKY 00:17 4 INTXAUSTI Benat MOV 00:26 5 NIBALI Vincenzo AST 00:31 6 AGNOLI Valerio AST 00:31 7 HESJEDAL Ryder GRS 00:34 8 CARUSO Giampaolo KAT 00:36 9 TROFIMOV Yury KAT 00:36 10 HENAO Sergio SKY 00:37