Chris Froome, last year’s runner-up in Tour de France behind team-captain Bradley Wiggins, kept his impressive form in Criterium International winning the queen stage of this mini-tour, the mountain-top finish in Col De l’Ospedale.
SKY took the charge as the riders started climbing the Col De l’Ospedale, Vasil Kiryienka putting a great effort and shaking the peloton down to 20 riders. And with 6 kilometers to go, IAM Cycling’s Johann Tschopp escaped and eventually dropped Kiryienka. But it was Chris Froome destroying the field with his solo attack, later followed by Paris-Nice champion Richie Porte, who finished the stage in second place. Despite huge expectations, BMC’s Tejay van Garderen only managed to grab the last podium spot thanks to his time-trial performance in stage 2.
SKY once again dominated the climb and spread fear amongst their rivals as the grand tours are approaching.
“It wasn’t my intention to attack so early on in the climb but Richie sat off a little bit and gave me a gap and no one chased,” Froome said about his attack. “So I pushed on a bit knowing that he could stay protected behind other wheels, which allowed him to attack in the final couple of kilometres himself. So we couldn’t have asked for better”
Final General Classification
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 6:55:23
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 32″
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 54″
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 1′ 00″
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 1′ 08″
7. Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1′ 33″
8. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ 1′ 37″
9. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling 1′ 43″
10. John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2′ 05″
Stage 3 Results
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:43:38
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 30″
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 45″ (more…)
Featuring six categorized climbs, and ending atop the first-category l’Ospedale summit, Criterium Internatinal’s third and final stage will be the decider of this year’s winner.
Last year, on the same stage, it was Cadel Evans defending his yellow jersey after his Stage 2 TT victory, and in 2011 when it was the opening stage of Criterium International, Frank Schleck won it with a 20 seconds margin.
Team Sky’s Richie Porte and Chris Froome, BMC’s Cadel Evans and Tejay Van Garderen, Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky and AG2R’s Jean-Christophe Peraud will be the main riders to watch on the l’Ospedale climb.
GC Before Stage 3
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 2:11:53
2. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 1″
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
4. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 2″
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 7″
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard
8. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard 9″
9. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 11″
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
American rider Andrew Talansky of Garmin Sharp won the third stage of Paris-Nice and is now leading the general classification with 3 seconds ahead of Astana’s Andriy Grivko. “This is really important for me because Garmin-Sharp sent a whole team here to help me for the overall. So to win a stage here and take the jersey is a big step in my career,” said the young American after the stage, showing his intentions to keep the yellow jersey till Sunday. Davide Malacarne of Team Europcar came second while Gorka Izaguirre Insausti from Euskaltel-Euskadi came third.
A four-men break got reeled on the slopes of the cat 2 climb with 19 kms to go, but Martijn Keizer of Vacansoleil already had enough points from the previous climbs to steal the polka-dot jersey from his team-mate Bertjan Lindeman. It was SKY who took control of the pelaton on the ascent and by doing so, they managed to get 2 riders, one being Richie Porte, in the breakaway that formed during the descent. Philippe Gilbert, Sylvain Chavanel and Rein Taaramae were stuck in the chasing group and although they worked hard to close the gap, the 20-rider groupetto failed to show enough coordination to close the gap with the breakaway in the final kilometers.
The day’s losers were Robert Gesink, Denis Menchov and Ivan Basso who are all now more than a minute away from Talansky in the GC. Cannondale is now at the bottom of the team’s classification, no sprint stage left for Elia Viviani and no hopes left to bounce back at the yellow jersey race. Viviani still wearing the green jersey is their sole consolidation. Talansky is now also leading the young riders classification and it’ll be an another American, Tejay van Garderen of BMC wearing the white jersey.
GC after Stage 3
1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 14:39:36
2. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 3″
3. Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 4″
5. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5″
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 6″
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 7″
8. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 8″
9. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky Procycling 9″
10. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun 12″
1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 4:06:15
2. Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
3. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi (more…)