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Dutchman Van der Hoorn wins stage three at the Giro d'Italia
Bora-Hansgrohe spend day chasing only to miss out on stage
Ganna retains leader's pink jersey and youth classification
Evenepoels move up to third on general classification
Taco van der Hoorn held off a galloping bunch to land the biggest victory of his career when the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux rider won stage three at the Giro d'Italia on Monday.
Just moments after winning the 190-kilometre stage from Biella to Canale, the grand tour debutant described his win as 'unbelievable'.
Indeed, despite impressing throughout the spring classics where the Dutchman was a regular figure in the early breakaways, few will have predicted Van der Hoorn could have won the stage, particularly given the horsepower on the front of the chasing peloton.
After an eight-man breakaway had formed from the flag, Bora-Hansgrohe appeared intent on reining them in the hope of setting up three-time world champion Peter Sagan for the stage win. Van der Hoorn, however, had other ideas and having ridden Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) off his wheel around 7km from the finishing line remained the last man standing. Against the odds the 27-year-old held off the pack to land the biggest win of his career.
“I can't believe it. I just wanted to be aggressive for the whole Giro. I knew it would be very difficult to win a stage,” Van der Hoorn said. “I took my chance but I didn't believe we'd make it with a one minute lead going into the finale. But Simon Pellaud rode very hard up the hill. He was tired then and I dropped him and I heard on the radio that I had a lead of 40 seconds. I looked back at 1km to go and I started believing I could win. It's unbelievable.
“This first victory of the year means a lot for my new team. We felt good behind the scenes and we came close at the Tour of Algarve. I’m happy the team gave me a nice program and some freedom after the two years I spent at Jumbo-Visma working for Wout van Aert in the classics or chasing breakaways down for Dylan Groenewegen.”
Filippo Ganna, meanwhile, kept hold of his maglia rosa, the leader's pink jersey, and will wear it for a third successive day on Tuesday after the Ineos Grenadiers rider rolled over the line safely in the bunch following a relatively straightforward day. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck- Quick Step) moved up to third on general classification. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), who won Sunday's second stage, retained his points jersey, and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) extended his lead in the mountains classification.
Van der Hoorn wins a memorable stage from a breakaway!
Oh my. Taco van der Hoorn, who impressed throughout the spring classics campaign, has landed the biggest win of his career and a massive victory for the Dutchman's Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team who have, until now, not won a single race this season. Making their debut outing at the Giro d'Italia as a first-year WorldTour team, that result is massive for the Belgian squad.
Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-up Nation) won the bunch sprint to take runners-up spot, while Peter Sagan was third. One suspects there will not be too much celebrating in the Bora-Hansgrohe team bus tonight with that third place after all of the hard work they did today.
An absolutely brilliant result for Van der Hoorn, a decent second place for Cimolai but an extremely disappointing third for Sagan and his team who will be asking questions of themselves tonight.
Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) finished safely in the bunch to keep hold of his leader's pink jersey and of course the young rider's white jersey, while Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) retains his points jersey, and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), as mentioned earlier, tightened his grip on the blue jersey as leader in the mountains.
500 metres to go . . .
Taco van der Hoorn is holding on, but the bunch are closing in.
1km to go
Elia Viviani, Peter Sagan, Fernando Gaviria, Patrick Bevin are all in the chasing group, but are they going to catch Taco van der Hoorn?
2km to go
It's game over for Giulio Ciccone and Tony Gallopin, and Taco van der Hoorn is the lone leader – 19sec – but I think it is going to be heartbreak for the Dutchman.
3km to go
Taco van der Hoorn's lead is down to 17sec. Giulio Ciccone and Tony Gallopin are around 15sec ahead of the peloton.
4km to go
Taco van der Hoorn, the 27-year-old Dutchman, is labouring but is holding on to his lead of 20sec. The peloton, meanwhile, appears to have sparked into life and are closing in on Giulio Ciccone and Tony Gallopin.
5.5km to go
Taco van der Hoorn leads the chasing duo of Giulio Ciccone and Tony Gallopin by 25sec.
6km to go
This is touch-and-go. Is the peloton going to chase? Bora-Hansgrohe's phalanx of riders that have been on the front all day, have gone missing in action and nobody else appears too keen on taking responsibility. Taco van der Hoorn's advantage is 37sec now, while the peloton is another 20sec down.
7.5km to go – Van der Hoorn to lone leader
Taco van der Hoorn rides Simon Pellaud off his wheel, which is an interesting move. They may be better off working g together right now in an effort to hold of the chasing trio of Giulio Ciccone, Tony Gallopin and Samuele Zoccarato. Then, of course, there's the small matter of the peloton.
9km to go
Giulio Ciccone and Tony Gallopin have ridden through and picked up Samuele Zoccarato, but trail the leading pair of Simon Pellaud and Taco van der Hoorn by 27sec, while the peloton is another 20sec down the road.
10km to go
Interesting to note that Patrick Bevin (Israel Start-up Nation) is now on the wheel of Peter Sagan. That could be a danger for the Bora-Hansgrohe man – if they can rein in the stage leaders.
14km to go
Simon Pellaud and Taco van der Hoorn lead the stage, 17sec ahead of Tony Gallopin and Giulio Ciccone while Daniel Oss is leading the chase for Bora-Hansgrohe.
15km to go
Gallopin and Ciccone go over the summit, the pair both peering over their left shoulders looking to see who is following.
15.5km to go
Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-Citroën), the French baroudeur, rolls off the front of the peloton and has Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) for company. Interesting.
16km to go
Simon Pellaud attacks off the front of the breakaway, but the Swiss has Taco van der Hoorn and Samuele Zoccaratofor company. It looks like the time bonuses will be going to the break, meaning the cupboard will be bare for the general classification riders.
18.5km to go
Just minutes away from this nasty incoming intermediate sprint where there is this climb that ramps up to 15% in gradient near the top. Nobody will want to lose position going onto this climb and, I suspect, there may be a few minor scraps for position.
21km to go
Bora-Hansgrohe are still on the front, getting absolutely no help from any of the other teams. There will be an awful lot of pressure on Peter Sagan to finish this off, but one suspects the three-time world champion has big enough shoulders to carry that weight of expectation.
22km to go
Just five riders remain out in front – Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) – and their advantage has been whittled down to a shade over a minute now.
32km to go
Elia Viviani (Cofidis) is spotted towards the rear of the peloton. Can the Italian hold on and go all the way to the line? With a 15% climb incoming in around 20km he may struggle, bet let's wait and see.
35km to go
Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) takes three points in the mountains classification atop the Manera, the third and final categorised climb of the day, while Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) took two and the leader in that particular competition Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) added another point to his tally.
37km to go
Giacomo Nizzolo loses contact and has Cesare Benedetti for company, but he will be getting no helps from the Bora-Hansgrohe rider. Incidentally, the Bora-Hansgrohe-powered peloton may have dispatched a number of sprinters, but they still have Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) for company.
38km to go
There is just one more categorised climb to follow . . .
. . . before they have to tackle this brute that pitches up to 15% in gradient, despite it being uncategorised. There is an intermediate sprint at the summit, where one suspects those with designs on the general classification may look to gain a time bonus.
Finally, there's this small kicker around 6km from the finish:
42.5km to go
Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) is the latest sprinter to appear in danger. The Italian is out of his saddle fighting with this climb, but with each metre of asphalt covered he is losing more and more time on Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates on the front of the peloton. Their gap on the breakaway, by the way, is down to two minutes dead now.
46km to go
Caleb Ewan is the next sprinter to be dropped off by the peloton. The Lotto-Soudal rider will more than likely be joining forces with Dylan Groenewegen and David Dekker in the grupetto at the rear.
46.5km to go
Manuel Belletti (Eolo-Kometa), by the way, was able to continue following his crash, the Italian picking up some scrapes and bruises. The breakaway is near the summit of the second categorised climb of the day and Andrii Ponomar has now been dropped.
48km to go
Tim Merlier is dropped! It does not look like yesterday's stage winner will be contesting the stage today. Dylan Groenewegen, who is competing at his first race since the Tour of Poland last August, has popped and has Jumbo-Visma team-mate David Dekker for company.
51.5km to go
Apologies for the radio silence, a few minor mechanical issues here at Telegraph Towers. Anyway, no real change out on the road: Bora-Hansgrohe have around six riders on the front of the peloton, while a number of the pure sprinters have regained contact following that last climb. With two more categorised climbs to follow, along with the uncatergorised climb 15km from the finish, to omens do not look good for the sprinters. With Bora-Hansgrohe having done pretty much all of the heavy lifting today, one would assume Peter Sagan is feeling strong. But how many times have we seen this when one team does all the work, only to get ambushed at the last?
Bit of a crash in the peloton after a couple of riders, including Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo), appear to touch wheels causing a few to hit the deck. Manuel Belletti (Eolo-Kometa), a former stage winner here in 2010, went down hardest, while Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) also crashed.
Back up the road Andrii Ponomar had a scare when the teenager almost went off road as the road swept around left to right. Braking hard, Ponomar's rear wheel appeared to lock up causing him to slip and slide across the road, but somehow he stayed upright.
65km to go
Caleb Ewan regains contact with the peloton, but Bora-Hansgrohe are setting a high tempo on the front. Every time any rider from another team attempts to move ahead of them, the pace increases.
68km to go
It all kicks off around 1km from the summit of the Pian Canelli climb, the trio of Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ) flying off the front of the breakaway. Following a brief respite, Albanese puts in an attack to take maximum points on the summit, a result that ensures that providing he completes the stage he will hold onto the leader's jersey in the mountains classification.
70km to go
Caleb Ewan is spotted sitting towards the rear of the peloton and the Australian sprinter appeared to be struggling. Lotto-Soudal team-mate Tomasz Marczynski appeared to be chatting to him, but it does not look good for the man many had suggested may contest today's stage.
71.5km to go
The breakaway is onto the first of these three categorised climbs now and, as mentioned at the start of the day, thare is a lot of jockeying for position near the front of the chasing peloton. Deceuninck-Quick Step, who have been riding in the wheels for much of the day, get their men up towards the front, while Bora-Hansgrohe continue to set the pace.
72.5km to go
Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos), the European national champion who was second in Sunday's stage, attacks off the front of the bunch ... and nobody follows. Because he is racing for points that don't exist. It looks like somebody hasn't read the roadbook properly.
75km to go
And the breakaway has passed through the first intermediate sprint – won by Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec). With only eight positions earning riders any points in the race for the cyclamen jersey, that means nobody in the peloton can add to their respective tallies. However, it appears a number of teams are lining themselves up to challenge for some point – how peculiar.
Meanwhile, elsewhere . . .
Dame Sarah Storey was granted a retro-active Therapeutic Use Exemption [TUE] for an asthma drug after returning an adverse analytical finding at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, it was revealed.
Storey, Britain’s most successful female Paralympian with 14 gold medals in swimming and cycling stretching back to Barcelona 1992, returned an AAF for salbutamol after winning the first gold medal of the 2012 Paralympics in the individual pursuit in her disability category on August 30, 2012.
85km to go
The stage leaders are around 10km from the day's first intermediate sprint. Incidentally, there are two intermediate sprints during most stages at the Giro d'Italia with one earning the riders points, the other time bonuses – hence Filippo Ganna and Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) duking it out yesterday where the Italian earned himself a 3sec bonus, while the 2sec the Belgian gained saw him go level with team-mate Joao Almeida on general classification. Evenepoel and Almeida started the Giro, officially at least, as joint co-leaders with both targeting the general classification.
93.5km to go
Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix) takes over on the front, Maciej Bodnar dropping onto the wheel of the Belgian. Janssen, one assumes, is riding on behalf of Tim Merlier who took a superb win on Sunday. Merlier may be a new name to some readers, but he's a superb talent and had won three races before yesterday – Le Samyn, Grote prijs Jean-Pierre Monseré and Bredene Koksijde Classic. Providing he can get over the climbs towards the business end of the stage, Merlier may fancy his chances against the likes of Peter Sagan who is looking fairly relaxed and has now removed his jacket.
101km to go
Maciej Bodnar, the six-time Polish time trial champion who won the penultimate stage – also a time trial – at the 2017 Tour de France, is setting the pace on the front of the peloton. Tucked in behind the Bora-Hansgrohe man is an Alpecin-Fenix rider while just behind him are a handful of Ineos Grenadiers riders, including the maglia rosa of Filippo Ganna, who incidentally, have kept their jackets on.
The breakaway is being kept on a tight leash with their advantage holding at around 4min 25sec.
115km to go
No sooner had we pointed out that the riders are all wrapped up in their rain capes, than they started to disrobe to reveal their multi-coloured team jerseys. Must admit it can be very difficult to identify riders while in their wet-weather kit as almost all of the squads nowadays use either black, navy blue or dark grey jackets. I don't actually know whey they insist on wearing black, but am guessing it is for practical reasons – all of the muck that will spray up off the rear wheel will definitely be hidden on dark jackets.
As it stands . . .
Ok folks, so what has happened so far? Well, it looks like a rotten day out in Piedmont where 183 riders rolled over KM0 at 11.31am (BST) which was a minute later than scheduled, but I think we can forgive them. Dark foreboding clouds hang overhead, rain has been falling all morning but, thankfully for the riders, the temperature isn't too bad – 14°C at the start and it is forecast to be 19°C at the finish.
The entire peloton appeared to have started the stage all kitted out in their rain jackets, with a number of riders opting for their clear glasses – there's very little threat of them needing sunglasses. Almost straight from the start a seven-man group clipped off the front before the peloton sat up allowing the breakaway to form. Not content with having one rider in the break, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec sent another up the road off in pursuit of the septet. Quite remarkably, it was the youngest rider in the race, the 18-year-old Ukrainian Andrii Ponomar, who managed to bridge over. Incidentally, this is his first WorldTour stage race and only his second top-flight race following his outing at Milan-Sanremo.
As it stands, the eight-man breakaway of Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-Citroën), Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Andrii Ponomar (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Samuele Rivi (Eolo-Kometa), Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) leads by five minutes 25 seconds.
Albanese spoke at the beginning of the stage, the Italian saying he was planning to add to his tally in the mountains classification to secure that jersey for another day and having got into the break stands a good chance of making good on that. Bora-Hansgrohe have spent quite a chunk of the day riding on the front of the peloton, suggesting they are monitoring the size of that gap on the breakaway and are hopin g to set up their man Pater Sagan later on this afternoon. Interesting to note that Movistar, Bahrain Victorious and Alpecin-Fenix have also been taking turns on the front so, presumably, they too are thinking about the stage win.
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage three at the Giro d'Italia, the 190-kilometre run from Biella to Canale.
As eagle-eyed readers will note, we did not provide live coverage of the opening two stages – sorry about that – but over the next three weeks will be here covering all of the key stages as possible. Telegraph Sport will report on every stage, with live commentary from 15 of the remaining 19 stages, including every day in the high mountains where we suspect the overall race will be determined.
After two days of racing, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) will today wear the maglia rosa, the leader's pink jersey, after the Italian won Saturday's time trial, while Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), who won Sunday's sprint stage on his grand tour debut, starts in the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey, as leader in the points classification.
Despite yesterday featuring just 600 metres in elevation gain, there was one small categorised climb – the Montechiaro d'Asti – where Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) was the first to crest the category four climb to earn himself three points which propelled him into the maglia azzurra, blue jersey, as leader in the mountains classification.
Ganna, 24, also leads in the youth classification. The Italian, however, cannot wear two leader's jerseys and so compatriot Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) who is second in that particular competition will take care of the maglia bianca, or the white jersey.
Anyway, today's stage is due to get under way at 11.30am (BST), with our live rolling commentary kicking off in earnest at 1pm so be sure to bookmark this page and return at lunchtime when we will fill you in with everything – or anything – that has thus far happened, before talking you through to the finish.
At the risk of sounding like the seminal Andrew Weatherall remix of Saint Etienne's Only Love Can Break Your Heart, stage three looks to be very much like a stage of two very cheeky halves.
The opening 80km or so are flat along fairly wide and straight(ish) roads, before once they have reached the town of Canelli after 110km the route begins to circle around back on itself.
And for those who prefer to look at maps . . .
With three categorised climbs coming in relatively quick succession today's stage is a tricky little test that may suit the puncheurs and fastmen who are not averse to climbing. It may also provide opportunists the chance of an ambush and so those with hopes of challenging for the general classification will have to be on guard.
Today's categorised climbs . . .
Once over these three categorised climbs there's a sting in the tail around 15km from the finish in the town of Guarene where there is a 2.6km climb at an average gradient of 6.8%, though it ramps up into double digits. Hold on, the fun doesn't stop there though because the race organisers have yet another little kicker (see below) around 6km out from the line that may cause some key splits.
The run-in to Canale appears to be fairly fast and not too technical and is likely to suit a number of riders with different styles and skillsets – providing they are in the lead group on what could be a rollercoaster of a finale.
The obvious pick today would be Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) who is is decent form and has already won two races this season, while Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) who missed out on Sunday may also fancy his chances. Ewan, of course, impressed many with his climbing at Milan-Sanremo back in March, but today's climbs look a little steeper than the Cipressa and the Poggio. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) won a similar looking stage at last year's Giro, and I would not be surprised if Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) gave it a go. The young Belgian doesn't mind the steep stuff as we saw at San Sebastian a couple of years ago and despite arriving at the Giro an unknown having not raced since last August, appears in very good form. Anyway, that's enough idle speculation for one day.
As mentioned above, live coverage starts at 1pm. Ciao, for now.