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Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 3


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 3 of this year's Giro d'Italia, a 222 run from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea.

We'll bring you right up to speed. We're in the start village of Sorrento and the peloton has just rolled out. The skies are overcast, the finishing roads are currently wet and there's a prediction of rain for later in the stage.

Another seafront dénouement, another tourist mecca. Rolling out of Sorrento, the stage meanders south along the Amalfi Coast for 130 kilometres. It then reaches the first two climbs of the Giro, the so-called ‘Colli di San Pietro’.

Though neither rises above 600 metres, it’s probable we’ll see the pure sprinters detached on the second of them, to Sella di Catena. The technical descent to Ascea won’t afford them sufficient time to get back on, so the stage winner will likely be a fast-finishing passista, or rouleur.

The finishing descent is incredibly technical and dangerous and it's an ideal spot for an ambush with the likes of Vincenzo Nibali looking to take time on Bradley Wiggins at every opportunity he can create.

You can watch Procycling's stage preview video, right here.

In the battle for GC Sky and Movistar dominate the top ten after yesterday's team time trial:

Sky will have been pleased to have put an Italian in the maglia rosa with the business interests in the country. They had planned on Cataldo taking the jersey - if they'd won the TTT - but Puccio pulled on pink due the fact that he'd finished highest for Sky in the opening stage.

Yesterday actually marked Sky's first win in a team time trial in a Grand Tour and leaves Bradley Wiggins second on GC after just two days of racing.

And already we have a break  of seven up the road with a 3 minute gap on the peloton. That didn't take long at all but with Sky offering up the maglia rosa and everyone with strong lets it's no wonder a move has been initiated.

210km remaining from 222km

Sketchy details in the names of the riders in the break but we'll bring you up to speed as soon as we can. We do know that Willem Wauters is in the move however.

It's probably a good time to catch up on the news from around the world of cycling. As you would expect the focus is on the Giro and Bradley Wiggins is obviously pleased with his race so far. It's reminiscent of last year's Tour de France in which he was in second after the opening prologue.

The break consists of Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Manuele Boaro (Team Saxo-Tinkoff), Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Bert De Backer (Team Argos-Shimano), Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto Belisol), and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli)

194km remaining from 222km

Salvatore Puccio is just the sixth Sicilian to wear the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia after Mario Fazio (three times in 1949), Giovanni Corrieri (once in 1953), Guido Messina (once in 1955), Giovanni Visconti (eight times in 2008) and Vincenzo Nibali (twice in 2010 and twice in 2011).

Yesterday saw an impressive ride from Movistar, who finished nine seconds down on Sky. The Spanish team recently held a team time trialling training camp in Spain and the hard work has clearly paid off. Visconti holds the mountains jersey after his exploits on stage 1 and Dowsett is wearing the white jersey while Puccio leads in the maglia rosa.

Astana also had a relatively successful day in the saddle, limiting Nibali's losses to 14 seconds. The Italian was satisfied, especially has he put time into Ryder Hesjedal and Cadel Evans.

After 35 km of racing the gap to the break has gone out to 5'58.

Savio will be pleased his team has placed a man in the break. They'll be looking at stages like this, and the mountains in particular in order to make their race. No Ferrari this year, he's at Lampre, so there's more pressure on the climbers to perform. Rodriguez is a pretty dependable Androni rider, often on the attack in races. He's not actually won an individual race in Europe before though.

De Backer from Argos Shimano is more accustomed to the Classics and the 29-year-old, who actually raced in the US for Navigators for a season, is riding his first Grand Tour. More opportunities this year for Argos who will ride all three grand tours in a single season for the very first time.

After Vini Fantini's excellent TTT yesterday, Taborre is now the virtual leader on the road. The Italian moved over from Acqua Sapone in the winter and is riding his second Giro. He had some decent top tens at the end of 2012 and will be looking to kick on this season. A spell in the maglia rosa would certainly transform his career in and instant.

We've now raced just over 50km and the gap has gone out to over six minutes. Sky continue to keep tabs on the front of the peloton.

What do you think? Is the route balanced or is there too much for the time trialists? Perhaps perception is skewed because the Tour winner is a time trialist? Let me and  @micacquarone know on Twitter via dnl.benson .

Pantano by the way started out racing on the track. He's had some promising results in Europe as  U23 rider and now at 24 he's riding his debut grand tour. He was third in the 2010 Tour de l'Avenir so he certainly has the engine to perform at this level too.

The break are closing in the first intermediate sprint of the day. There are two en route and they should hoover up both with ease.

Bellemakers a 29 year old journeyman is also riding his maiden grand tour. This is his first season with Lotto too.

160km remaining from 222km

Taborre wraps up maximum points at the intermediate sprint as the race now swing south towards Marina di Ascea. It's all along the coast with the feed zone around 25 kilometres at Laura.

145km remaining from 222km

It will be interesting to see how the peloton race for the section section of the stage. There's a long way to go until the first climb of San Mauro Cilento. It comes 77km before the finish but it's the ideal place to distance some of the weaker sprinters. They may catch on before the next climb but it'll be a hard chase as the bunch will be motoring towards the final climb.

The final climb itself shouldn't pose any real difficulty for the GC riders but the descent is a completely different prospect. The switchbacks and tight corners, combined with a wet surfaces could cause havoc and split the race wide open. Even if the break does contest the finish it's possible that the GC riders will be split by the time they reach the finish.

125km remaining from 222km

News just in: Dave Brailsford has moved to try and quash speculation of a rift between Froome and Wiggins, issuing a statement in which he confirms that Froome is the leader for the Tour and that Wiggins is focusing on the Giro. It's a pretty interesting move from Brailsford, issuing a statement like that during the first week of the Giro. Here's the news item on it.

Last week Wiggins said it was possible that he could go for the Giro-Tour double, which led to Froome issuing a personal statement through his own website - and outside of team control - that said he'd been promised team leadership by Sky. Hence Brailsford comments today.

It's also interesting that for all of Sky's dominance, funds and planning they can't publicly at least decide on a clear strategy for the Tour de France. Perhaps it's a good dilemma to have, with two of the top stage races in the world on the same team, but so far it's only led to speculation and for a team like Sky it's not ideal to have a rider publishing personal statements outside of team control. For the fans though, and they're of course important, it's exciting.

Paolo Tiralongo, an important rider for Nibali and Astana in the mountains has crashed in the feedzone. We'll bring you more asap.

112km remaining from 222km

A reminder of where we stand on GC coming into today's stage:

Spare bike for Tiralongo but he's up and back with the peloton again.

De Backer pick up maximum points at the second intermediate sprint of the day. The break have now covered 117km and still hold a lead of over 6 minutes.

Word has it that the roads are drying out at the finish, and that will certainly change the nature of how the peloton tackle the finishing descent.

Danny Pate is on the front for Sky and they've moved their entire team to the head of the field. It keeps Wiggins well out of trouble but they're doing all the work. They don't appear to want to give the maglia rosa up just yet.

94km remaining from 222km

The break are still tapping through at a decent rate but a few more teams are moving up to the front of the peloton to share the pace with Sky. Astana,  BMC are both positioning their men towards the front.

De Backer and the Rodriguez both come through and take turns on the front of the break as back in the bunch David Millar has dropped back to the team car to pick up bottles for his teammates.

The gap is currently at 6'15

Robbie Hunter is currently looking after Ryder Hesjedal with Puccio close by.

There are a few clouds overhead but generally speaking it's a fine day for the peloton with the sun breaking through.

Stunning scenes along the Italian coastline as the peloton race towards the first climb of the stage.

80km remaining from 222km

A sweeping descent for the peloton who are 6 minutes down on the break currently. Pantano is at the back of the break but he looks fairly comfortable.

QuickStep continue to set the pace, Sky have pulled off a few kms ago now.

The peloton are on the lower slopes of the climb now the gap down to 5'37 as the leaders climb the San Mauro Cilento.

Rodriguez ups the pace slightly at the head of the break just to see who is going to work and who is going to simply follow. De Backer is at the back of the group and he's not looking too fresh.

Vini Fantini-Selle Italia directeur sportif Luca Scinto has admitted on Italian television that the break has little chance of making it to the finish.

De Backer has been dropped from the leading group, the pace too high for the Argos Shimano rider.

The peloton now reach the steepest part of the climb and everyone is out of the saddle in an instant. Blanco have taken up the responsibility of leading the bunch now.

75km remaining from 222km

The gap is under five minutes now, at 4'42. Rodriguez continues to do a lot of work on the front of the six man group and there's a few riders starting to suffer. At the back of the peloton a handful of riders have started to drop off the back

Di Luca is close to the front as well on the climb. The lead is now at 4'24.

Wiggins in the peloton looks comfortable at the moment. He takes a quick drink and then settles into his pace once again. Sky have moved back to the front once again but Astana have matched them

70km remaining from 222km

It comes back together before the summit.

Hesjedal moves up alongside Wiggins and Nibali.

Wauters takes the points at the top of the climb.

Sky are doing the work on the front. They're  used to just sitting on the front and tapping out a pace like this. It's not about dropping riders, simply control.

Here's a gallery of time trial bikes from yesterday's stage.

Cavendish and a group of sprinters are off the back of the bunch by about 2 minutes. They'll struggle to come back today.

The leaders are starting to miss the odd turn here and there and it's starting to have an effect on their advantage. Will Astana set the pace on the descent?

Daniele Pietropolli has crashed on the descent but he's up and running again, sweeping through the team cars at the moment.

56km remaining from 222km

Savio leans out the Androni car window and has a chat with Rodriguez.

Taborre has pushed on alone. He's the closest to the maglia rosa but he's going clear from a long way out.

Taborre will know that if he can start the descent from the final climb with an advantage of around 1'30 to 2 minutes he should be able to hold on but it's a big ask from this point. He's pulled out an advantage over his former breakaway companions though.

50km remaining from 222km

Colbrelli has been in a crash. The Italian is back up and waiting for a bike. It looked like he hit a concrete bollard on the left hand side of the road.

Taborre has 50 seconds on the chase group. That's a highly impressive ride. Scinto draws level in the Vini Fantini team car and gives him a few orders. Taborre looks fairly comfortable right now.

The five chasers haven't given up on the chase, they simply can't bring him back.

The peloton has lined out with Sky and Katusha drilling the pace on front.

40km remaining from 222km

The Rodriguez group still can't make any impression on the Fantini rider's lead. It's now at 58 seconds.

Wiggins in surrounded by his Sky teammates, Puccio in pink close by.

1'04 between Taborre and the chasing group.

Taborre is also holding off the peloton at the moment. His gap is 3'24 to the Katusha led bunch.

Hesjedal and Nibali are moving up to the front once again but Taborre on the lower slopes of the final climb is still leading by 1'10. So the lead has gone out a bit more. The bunch have reacted through and brought their gap down to 3'05.

Taborre's lead has dropped to 2'50 over the bunch so it's starting to come down. He putting in a brave performance though.

It's 2'25 for the lone leader now and he's starting to crack.

The chase group have started to attack each other on the climb but it's a fruitless effort. The peloton are less than a minute down.

Taborre is suffering and takes a quick drink. Scinto draws alongside him but even the DS knows that the game could be up. The gap to the bunch is at 1'55.

The road begins to ramp up again for Taborre. He seems fine on the gentle gradient but as you might expect he suffers on the steep pitches. Cavendish has been dropped from the main field again.

BMC, Sky Garmin and Astana are all on the front of the peloton.

29km remaining from 222km

And Garmin take up the pace. The defending champions willing to do their share of the work as Astana and Sky slip behind them.

Garmin are causing problems here.

Wiggins is alone here.

Three Garmins on the front, Scarponi, Nibali there too.

But Wiggins has no teammates left

Garmin continue on the front of the peloton, it's all strung out. They pushed the pace on a slight incline and it caught everyone by surprise.

Wiggins did well to get onto Hesjedal's wheel though.

Now Astana take up the charge. Nibali has a teammate.Scarponi and Wiggins both here. Hesjedal too.

Wiggins has a teammate but there's a definite split and Evans isnt there.

8 riders in the Wiggins group.

Hesjedal is alone without teammate this time but Nibali has two men with him, Wiggins one and Scarponi on his own too.

25km to go and Hesjedal has attacked.

The defending champion has gone clear of his rivals.

The three Astana riders are starting the chase

More riders are coming over to the Nibali/Wiggins group but Hesjedal is pushing on alone. It looks like a pre-arranged move from Garmin.

Nibali has sent his men to the front to try and close this move down but last year's winner Ryder Hesjedal is out alone.

It looks like Cadel Evans has made contact with the favourites.

And now Hesjedal is sitting up.

And Astana continue to set the pace on the climb. 23km to go.

And Astana continue to set the pace on the climb. 23km to go.

The Canadian moves back into line and slips onto Wiggins' rear wheel. He means business, that's for sure.

Puccio is struggling at the back of the field so pink could go to Wiggins today.

Puccio dropped, he'll lose pink unless he can put in an incredible descent.

We certainly saw fireworks briefly. Wiggins and Nibali looked good, Hesjedal too but Evans wasn't able to lift the pace when the attacks came. He clawed his way back though along with a number of riders.

22km remaining from 222km

Di Luca is hanging off the back.

Four Astana riders on the front now and Wiggins has perhaps one teammate further back in the group.

Wiggins has two teammate behind in as he hooks himself to Nibali's back wheel.

Visconti teaks off and picks up KOM points at the top of the climb. Now it's the difficult descent to the finish.

Aru is on the front and all the favourites are fighting for Nibali's wheel as the descent starts.

Agnoli is off the front of the peloton and Hesjedal has gone with him.

Hesjedal is with Agnoli and Paoli and race radio says 30 seconds. 30 seconds.

Attacks coming from the bunch and it look like Nibali and Wiggins are watching each other.

A BMC rider is coming over to the leading trio

The gap isn't 30 seconds. Perhaps 10 at best.

14km to go and it's coming back together.

Hesjedal is making another move on the descent.

Betancur over cooks a bend but he's back up and chasing

Hesjedal accelerates once more but he's kept in check by Astana. Wiggins just sits tight but at this rate he'll be in pink by this evening.

10km to go and Hesjedal is on the front. There's a BMC rider in the lead group but no confirmation yet as to whether it's Cadel Evans.

Wiggins is moving towards the front of the main field.Kangert has crashed but is chasing now.

They're on the final ramp now before the plunge to the finish. Hesjedal is in second wheel. There are 30 or so riders.

Just 7.3km remaining and the descent starts again.

Sky now lead the field.

And Paolini has attacked. He only has a slight advantage but the favourites might not chase him down.

The experienced Italian rider has 6 seconds as Blanco set up the chase from behind.

4km remaining from 222km

Paolini has 9 seconds now.

Scarponi has crashed and is at the side of the road. His bike has broken.

Two Blanco riders went down on the same corner.

Paolini still clear and is racing towards the pink jersey.

As Hesjedal sets up a chase as well

And Paolini comes to the line and he'll take the maglia rosa too.

Paolini takes the win.

Here comes the bunch...

It looks like Evans takes second and Hesjedal third.

A good ride from Evans who like Hesjedal chips some of Wiggins' advantage away. The Sky leader finished 8th on the stage and kept out of trouble.

Overall an exciting third stage. Puccio lost pink and Taborre pulled out an impressive ride but in the end the GC contenders played their cards on the final climb. Hesjedal threw in a number of attacks on the climb and on the descent but in the end it was Paolini who slipped clear to win the stage. The Katusha ride will start tomorrow's stage 4 in the maglia rosa. Three stages, three race leaders.

1 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
4 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
5 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
7 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
8 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
9 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team

General classification after stage 3

1 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha 9:04:32
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:17
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
4 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:26
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:31
6 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:34
8 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha 0:00:36
9 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha
10 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:37

Thanks for joining us today. You can see our race report, results, and photos from today's stage, right here.

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