Gilbert's chance at victory in Sestri Levante foiled by Tinkoff-Saxo's daylong chase at the Giro d'Italia

BMC Racing’s sports director Valerio Piva said he was baffled by Tinkoff-Saxo’s strategy of racing hard on the front of the bunch for much of stage 3 at the Giro d'Italia, a tactic that resulted in the failure of a daylong breakaway containing BMC’s Philippe Gilbert.

Piva pointed out that BMC Racing’s strategy at the Giro this year is essentially based around taking stage wins and Gilbert was one of the last riders to be caught from a 25-man move that initially also contained his teammates Marcus Burghardt and Silvan Dillier. The Belgian, who claimed two of the three intermediate sprints, was drawn back into the front peloton of some 70 riders, spearheaded by Tinkoff-Saxo, around 12 kilometres from the finish.

Gilbert still claimed third on the stage and is now 14th overall, 25 seconds behind overall race leader and stage 3 winner Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge). But after a difficult Ardennes Classics campaign, his first victory of the season continues to elude the former World Champion.

“It’s disappointing, because Philippe was in the break from the beginning,” Piva commented after the finish. “He was good, with two teammates together.

“We tried, but I don’t understand Tinkoff-Saxo. I can understand that they are there to protect [Alberto] Contador, but I don’t know it was not necessary for them to pull all day like this

“But in any case, I’m not a Tinkoff director. It’s a pity, but Philippe at the end was able to sprint again and get third and that’s a good sign. He was up there. Tomorrow is another day.”

Piva says that BMC Racing perhaps lost a little more time than expected in the team time trial. He also noted that it was encouraging that a break had a chance of getting away. “We don’t really have a GC contender, our objectives are stages, so we’ll have to take it on the day by day.”

“Philippe’s in good shape and it’s always encouraging to see him like that.”

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.