Peter Sagan (Cannondale) took his revenge on Michal Kwiatowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) storming to the line to take victory on stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico from Cascina to Arezzo. The Cannondale rider finished several bike lengths ahead of Kwiatkowski and Australian Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) on a slightly uphill finish in Arezzo after 210km of racing.
The final uphill sprint was difficult enough to alter the overall classification with overnight leader Mark Cavendish relinquishing his slender lead to his teammate Kwiatkowski.
Sagan, who came up short in stage 2, had no such troubles as he sprinted for the line after Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) accelerated through the winding finale with 400 meters to go.
[quote_box_center]”I’m really happy to have won. As soon as I saw the profile of the stage and finish of this stage I wanted to do well. It went perfectly and I got it. I want to dedicate this stage to my mum, who is not too well at the moment.” Sagan said.[/quote_box_center]
The finish, with its tight circuit roads and testing incline, was a perfect battleground for the two Classics stars to pit themselves against each other but the Belgian appeared to accelerate too early, and despite opening up a marginal gap he was easily chased down by Sagan. Gilbert was then forced to settle for fourth as man-of-the-moment Kwiatkowski and then Clarke surged past.
Sagan showed he is finding some good form in time for Milan-San Remo and the other Spring Classics. Belgian classics specialist and former world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had been in contention for the stage win but failed to follow Sagan’s final acceleration. Local rider Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished in sixth after his team laid the groundwork for his challenge with important pace-setting in the final few kilometres.
Kwiatkowski now leads Colombian team-mate Rigoberto Uran in the overall standings by 10sec with Clarke third at 13sec.
Germany’s world time trial champion Tony Martin, of Omega-Pharma, whittled the field down with a turn of pace inside the final kilometre.
It left an eight-man lead group climbing their way to the finish and after Gilbert tried to escape solo with 400 metres to go Sagan countered to take the win.
Stage 4 sees riders tackle 237km from Indicatore to Cittareale.
“I know the hardest stages are still in front of us and it is just beginning,” said Kwiatkowski.
Stage 3: 210km, Cascina – Arezzo
1 Peter Sagan (SVK) Cannondale 5hr 10min 17sec
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3 Simon Clarke (AUS) Orica GreenEDGE
4 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) BMC
5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEDGE
6 Daniele Bennati (ITA) Tinkoff-Saxo
7 André Greipel (GER) Lotto Belisol
8 Simon Geschke (GER) Giant-Shimano
9 Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:04
10 Lloyd Mondory (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale
1 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 9hr 26min 36sec
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 0:00:10
3 Simon Clarke (AUS) Orica GreenEDGE 0:00:13
4 Tony Martin (GER) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 0:00:15
5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEDGE 0:00:17
6 Peter Sagan (SVK) Cannondale 0:00:22
7 André Greipel (GER) Lotto Belisol 0:00:30
8 Daniele Bennati (ITA) Tinkoff-Saxo
9 Luke Durbridge (AUS) Orica GreenEDGE 0:00:31
10 Cameron Meyer (AUS) Orica GreenEDGE