On paper, stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia was one for the sprinters and a day for the general classification riders to enjoy before Tuesday's testing climb up Mount Etna. However, as Quick-Step Floors 'smashed the peloton' in the crosswinds into Cagliari it proved to be a stressful finale that temporarily looked like shaping the overall podium in Milan.
BMC's Rohan Dennis was the biggest loser in the end with a crash severely limiting his GC aspirations inside the final 10km. For his rivals such as Team Sunweb Tom Dumoulin, the Dutchman was well protected by teammates Wilco Kelderman and Phil Bauhaus to finish with the peloton as Fernando Gaviria took the stage win and maglia rosa.
Having avoided any trouble in the first three stages in Sardinia, Dumoulin will head into stage 4's key climbing stage to Mount Etna in 19th place overall happy to leave the island with no issues.
"As expected today was a huge battle, there was so much wind to contend with which made things really difficult," Dumoulin explained. "Throughout the whole stage we were sharp and in the front but on that moment with 10 kilometres to go we were just little bit too far back, together with the other GC riders. The team were really good today and we have got through the first stages well together."
In 2016, Dumoulin enjoyed a stage win and extended stint in the leader's pink jersey following the Dutch Grande Partenza. However, as the Sardinia Grande Partenza was titled towards the sprinter's team coach Aike Visbeek is pleased with Dumoulin's performances thus far on terrain that doesn't particularly suit his characteristics. With the Sunweb squad gelling well in the opening salvo, Visbeek added he is pleased with how his riders have ridden so far.
"We were hoping to be a part of the first split but the finale was really, really chaotic. The guys were together but then lost their positions just after the roundabout," Visbeek said. "In the end Tom was in the second group along with Phil and Wilco. After three stages in Sardinia we can see that the guys are all really strong and focused, on all of the important moments they have been there. Today was a little bit of a shame but the guys got Tom safe to the finish which is the most important thing."
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