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"We were working with Vincenzo Nibali and Valerio Agnoli to try and gain some time on the overall classification because our ultimate goal here is to win the Maglia Rosa," Fabio Aru says

Photo: Sirotti

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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VALERIO AGNOLI

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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06.05.2013 @ 20:48 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Astana's Vincenzo Nibali and Valerio Agnoli were very aggressive on the final descent of today's third stage and for a moment managed to bring some of their nearest rivals on the defensive. Even if the plan of gaining time on pre-race favourite Bradley Wiggins (Sky) failed, the team took consolation in the fact that young Fabio Aru is now in the white jersey of best young rider.

 

If Bradley Wiggins had thought that he could calmly cruise through today's third stage, he must have got a huge surprise. On both the final ascent and descent his key rivals Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) put him under pressure with a number of attacks.

 

It all started on the uphill section where a small group managed to gain a little gap on a short descent midway of the climb. The move was instigated by Nibali and his teammates Tanel Kangert and Valerio Agnoli and as soon as the trio saw an opportunity Kangert set a hard tempo in an attempt to exploit the situation.

 

At the top it was all back together but that did not stop the Kazakh team's aggressive strategy. On the descent Agnoli went on the attack and as a small group with Hesjedal, eventual stage winner Luca Paolini, Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) and Ivan Santaromita (BMC) got clear, Wiggins seemed to be under pressure. The danger got only worse when Nibali also managed to join the move.

 

Once again Wiggins regained control of the situation and when the favourites crossed the line, they were almost all together in a small group 16 seconds behind Paolini. Astana's attacks did not produced the desired result but a source of joy was the fact that the team's young Fabio Aru took over the white jersey as best young rider from Salvatore Puccio (Sky).

 

"We were working with Vincenzo Nibali and Valerio Agnoli to try and gain some time on the overall classification because our ultimate goal here is to win the Maglia Rosa," Aru said. "I don't know how much of an effect the final attacks had, but to get the Maglia Bianca is a great honor for Astana Pro Team and for me."

 

Sports director Alexander Shefer knows that there is still a long way to go in Aru's debut giro but he is happy to show off one of the brightest young Italian talents to the rest of the world.

 

"It's still very early in the Giro, and there is a lot of racing to keep us busy in the next three weeks," he said. "But to take the jersey today in the first real point-to-point stage is a pleasant surprise, and an honor that Fabio deserves. We have known how strong he is for a year now, but today to take the Maglia Bianca in the Giro d'Italia just confirms that he is one of the best young riders in the world."

 

Aru leads Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) and pre-race favourite Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) by 29 and 36 seconds respectively and will face a hard challenge in tomorrow's fourth stage. The 246km route has a hard category 2 climb in the end and the GC favourites are expected to test each other on its slopes.

 

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