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Italian outsprints breakaway companions Paolo Tiralongo and Michele Scarponi to take the American team's first win since February

Photo: BMC / Tim De Waele

IVAN SANTAROMITA

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TOUR OF THE ALPS

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18.04.2013 @ 15:46 Posted by Simon Knudstrup

In a very fast and aggressive stage Ivan Santaromita (BMC) managed to rejoin Michele Scarponi (Lampre) and Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) after having been dropped on the final climb. In the end he outsprinted his two companions to take his 2nd pro win while Maxime Bouet (Ag2r) managed to keep his overall lead after having stayed in the favourite group all day.

 

The star-studded BMC team has had a hard first part of the season and with the classics season coming to an end, the team had not won a race since Thor Hushovd' stage victory in February's Tour du Haut Var. Today the much-needed victory came from an unexpected rider as mountain domestique Ivan Santaromita won the third stage of the Giro del Trentino.

 

The Italian had managed to join a strong 11-man group which got clear on the day's hardest climb, the Fai della Paganella whose top was located after 51,6km remaining. Together with Michele Scarponi, Paolo Tiralongo, Tanel Kangert (Astana), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre), Stefano Locatelli (Bardiani), Cayetano Sarmiento (Cannondale), Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural), Emanuele Selle (Androni), Fabio Felline (Androni) and Dario Cataldo (Sky), he opened up a gap of more than 2 minutes.

 

The stage was a fast one as the strong breakaway could not be allowed too much leeway and a diminished peloton had to chase all day in the hard terrain to keep the break in check. Sky, Ag2r and Vini Fantini took much of the responsibility to make sure that the riders in front did not get too much leeway.

 

On the day's final climb Scarponi accelerated off the front and the group splintered to pieces. Tiralongo managed to regain contact moments later and the duo set off at a rapid pace. However, Santaromita had not given up and he managed to join the leaders over the top of the climb.

 

During the final 15km, it was clear that the winner would be one of the three riders in front and they started to save themselves for the final sprint. As they entered the final kilometer, it almost came to a standstill while the riders looked at each other.

 

Veteran Paolo Tiralongo was on paper the fastest but he made a huge mistake. He opened his sprint way too early and Santaromita managed to come around and deny the Astana rider the victory. Scarponi had to settle for third.

 

Overall leader Maxime Bouet struggled on the finial climb but managed to maintain contact with his main rivals and he saved his 3.19 lead over Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky). The surprising leader now only faces one stage before he will be crowned overall winner but it will be a massive challenge to keep the lead. The stage is a hard mountaintop finish and with today's hard stage in his legs he will have to be at his very best to take home what would be the biggest victory of his career.

 

Starting at 14.15, you can follow the drama on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

A stage for a breakaway

The 176,1km stage was a typical one for a breakaway of strong riders. The stage traversed some hard terrain and it was up and down all day. The final challenge, the Daone climb, was located 15km from the finish and would give riders a final opportunity to put in an attack.

 

All teams knew that the day would be a perfect opportunity to go off the front and hence the stage was off to an aggressive start. Finally, the elastic snapped and Cataldo and Felline were allowed to build up a gap of almost 6 minutes.

 

An 11-man break

As soon as the peloton hit the Fai della Paganella climb, the pace increased massively. A number of strong climbers had planned to use the ascent as a springboard and that was exactly what they did. At the top of the climb the two leaders had been joined by 9 riders to form the decisive 11-man group.

 

In the peloton, Sky decided to keep the gap under control and for a long time the breakaway stayed 1.30 ahead of the group. However, a puncture for Bradley Wiggins forced the British team to momentarily stop their effort, and the advantage rose to 2.30.

 

As the front group hit the day's second climb, Felline and Cataldo paid for their early effort and were dropped by the front group. Sella also struggled but managed to regain contact at the top of the climb.

 

More teams start to work

In the peloton, Sky got assistance from Vini Fantini and Ag2r and later also Colombia joined the work. As they approached the final climb, it was, however, the NetApp trio of Jan Barta, Bartosz Huzarski and David De La Cruz who set a furious tempo in an attempt to set up and attack from the talented Leopold König.

 

On the lower slopes of the climb, Durasek upped the pace to set up Scarponi for an attack. Sella, Kangert, Locatelli and Piedra dropped off immediately and the same happened to Durasek moments later as he had finished his work. Scarponi accelerated and the break splintered to pieces.

 

Tiralongo managed to get back to the 2011 Giro winner and just over the top of the climb, Santaromita also rejoined the lead. Meanwhile, attacks went thick and fast in the peloton with Stefano Pirazzi (Astana), Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana), Davide Rebellin (CCC) and König all going off the front. However, Astana decided to up the tempo and all except Pirazzi were brought back at the top of the climb while Sella, Kangert and Durasek were also caught.

 

No chase from the peloton

For a moment Europcar, Bardiani and the lone Bouet tried to chase but with a gap of more than two minutes and less than 15km to go, the stage win was always going to be fought out between the escapees. Hence, the pace eased off and only a short dig from Fabio Duarte (Colombia) managed to put some life into the main group.

 

At the front, no one tried an early attack and the three leaders passed the flamme rouge all looking at each other. Tiralongo tried to make a long sprint but Santaromita proved to be the wisest and took his second pro win.

 

Locatelli beat Sarmiento and Piedra in the sprint for 4th while Pirazzi held off the peloton by a few seconds to gain a little time in the GC battle. Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani) won the peloton's sprint to make it 3 riders from Bardiani in the day's top 10.

 

Result:

1. Ivan Santaromita

2. Paolo Tiralongo

3. Michele Scarponi

4. Stefano Locatelli +0.34

5. Cayetano Sarmiento

6. Antonio Piedra

7. Stefano Pirazzi +1.12

8. Enrico Battaglin +1.34

9. Emanuele Sella

10. Miguel Angel Rubiano

 

General classification:

1. Maxime Bouet

2. Kanstantsin Siutsou +3.19

3. Bradley Wiggins +3.48

4. Vincenzo Nibali +3.57

5. Mauro Santambrogio +4.06

6. Fabio Aru +4.19

7. Alexsandr Dyachenko +4.20

8. Stefano Pirazzi 

9. Pierre Rolland +4.49

10. Przemyslaw Niemiec +4.52

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