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“Matthews was better today, and it was the opposite as in Pais Vasco as this time he grabbed my wheel. But tomorrow is another day. Big thanks again to my teammates who supported me well.”

Photo: Sirotti

FABIO FELLINE

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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KRISTOF VANDEWALLE

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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11.05.2015 @ 20:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Giro d’Italia wasted little time to bring in the hills, and although the medium mountain stage three was not enough to inflict damage to the GC favorites, the climbs were enough to create a sprint finish from a reduced peloton.

 

The stage was short at 136 kilometers but jam-packed with uphill terrain that proved too much for most, including Trek Factory Racing’s sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. The team then turned to its fast finisher with stronger climbing legs and Fabio Felline came through to almost pull off the biggest win of his career.

 

Without any team support for the finale, Felline was able to weasel into perfect position to launch his sprint, but in a reversal of his win in stage two of Pais Vasco, this time Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) grabbed Felline’s wheel and was able to come around him to take the win.

 

Overwhelmed with disappointment to once again narrowly miss out on victory in his home country’s biggest race, Felline choked back his emotions as he explained the finish:

 

“It was a super hard stage, all the time turning left, right, up, and down and all the time on small roads.  When I came to the Giro I had marked this stage red, I knew it was good for me and I was focused on it today. Second is good and I am happy because it confirms my condition, but a victory is a victory and in the Giro it means so much more and is so important for the team. This is my third time that I am second in the Giro.

 

“Matthews was better today, and it was the opposite as in Pais Vasco as this time he grabbed my wheel. But tomorrow is another day. Big thanks again to my teammates who supported me well.”

 

Only three days into the three-week Grand Tour and Trek Factory Racing was close to achieving its goal of a stage win. With 18 stages to go the team has taken a big step up in morale and confidence from Felline’s close second place today, giving them a promising outlook for the rest of the race.

 

An on-form Kristof Vandewalle gave perspective to the short but punishing stage:

 

“It felt like we did 236 instead of only 136 kilometers.  At the start it was full gas already.  On the first climb after 20 kilometers, I had a little uphill crash and I hit my arm pretty hard on some rocks. When I started again I was far behind in the cars and it took a huge effort to come back, and guys were already dropping. I did get back, but after this there was not an easy moment for me in the stage. On the final climb, I really felt the effort I made, and so I immediately pulled up to take it more easy to the finish.”

 

Tomorrow’s stage four is another medium mountain stage and perhaps a chance for Felline to make amends and break his - and Trek Factory Racing’s - jinx of second place sprint finishes at the Giro d’Italia.  

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