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“Our priority was to make sure Pete finished in that front group, and Dario as well, because he was third on the GC. When we knew that was going to happen we set up Ben for the sprint, and although he gave it everything, Viviani was j...

Photo: Sirotti








29.03.2014 @ 20:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Sky had a dual plan in today's third stage of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. After three consecutive stage wins, the team failed to take a fourth one when Ben Swift was beaten into second in the bunch sprint but Peter Kennaugh safely defended his overall lead ahead of the final time trial.


Team Sky enjoyed another good day at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali with Ben Swift sprinting to second place on the penultimate stage as Peter Kennaugh moved one step closer to overall victory.


Swift was guided into contention as stage three reached a fast finale in Crevalcore, with Kennaugh also positioned among a sizeable front group when the sprint trains came to the fore.


Swift produced a powerful late kick as he vied for his second stage victory in Italy, but Elia Viviani emerged to break Team Sky’s dominance and seal his own stage win.


The Cannondale rider’s first success of the season had little bearing on the general classification however, which meant Kennaugh defended his 42-second lead over Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani Valvole) at the top of the overall standings, with Dario Cataldo well positioned in third place for Team Sky.


The third day of action had always looked destined to end in a bunch sprint, even though 18 riders managed to forge clear as they commenced 12 laps of a largely flat circuit.


Team Sky and Cannondale monitored that situation closely, and the escapees’ advantage never stretched over two minutes before they were eventually hauled back in the final 28km.


Vasil Kiryienka, Sebastian Henao and Ian Boswell had been instrumental in restoring parity, and the pace they set in the final laps deterred any further attacks, and actually caused many riders to drop back before the stage reached a gripping conclusion.


After witnessing that frenetic finale, Sports Director Dan Frost was pleased with how events had played out, and revealed confidence was high heading into Sunday’s concluding 10km time trial.


He told “It was a pity we lost Philip [Deignan] before the start today through illness, but the other guys did a good job and everything else went to plan.


“Our priority was to make sure Pete finished in that front group, and Dario [Cataldo] as well, because he was third on the GC. When we knew that was going to happen we set up Ben for the sprint, and although he gave it everything, Viviani was just a little faster today.


“We’ve defended our position perfectly - Pete’s got a great chance of taking the win now and Dario could still ride his way into second position because he's only 18 seconds behind Bongiorno.


"We’ll give them all the support they need on Sunday and see what happens. It’s been a great week here so far, and we’ll all focused on ending it on a high.”



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