Pugnacious Paolini prevails on stage 3 of Giro d'Italia

Luca Paolini (Katusha) won stage three to Marina di Ascea and snatched the race leader's pink jersey with a solo attack on the final part of the twisting descent to the finish.

The 36 year-old Italian won alone, with Cadel Evans (BMC) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) taking second and third, 16 seconds behind. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) finished in the same front group but Salvatore Puccio was not there and so lost the pink jersey to Paolini, who took it thanks the 20 second time bonus. Evans picked up 12 seconds and Hesjedal took 8 seconds, making up for their poor team time trial on Sunday.

The late climb of Sella di Catona was not expected to shake up the race but an attack by 2012 Giro winner Hesjedal forced a major selection with the twisting descent causing several crashes and left just 20 riders up front.

Paolini is riding his first Giro d'Italia and took off in pursuit of victory with five kilometres to go.  

"It's incredible to win like that and take the pink jersey as well," he said. "My father was in hospital today for a minor operation and so this pink jersey is for him."    

"I suffered to stay on during the climb and tried to ride at my pace. I knew there was a little climb near the finish and know I can descend pretty well. I went for it."

"I rode as if it was a Classic. We had a good TTT and so I knew I could take pink if I won. I did it." 

How it happened

The riders rolled out of Sorrento under grey skies with a risk of rain at the start and at the finish, 222km down the coast. Fortunately the sun would shine on the race and the riders all day.

Before the start, riders and directeur sportif predicted an intense fight to get in the break, with a super fast first hour of racing, before the move went away. Many also expected Team Sky to let the move go and not defend Puccio's pink jersey in order to save their legs for later in the Giro d'Italia.  

Instead seven riders quickly got away on the circuits of Sorrento before diving down the Amalfi coast. In the move were 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).

They quickly opened a gap and had a chance to enjoy the twisting coast road and stunning views across the Mediterranean. Their lead reached six minutes after an hour of racing but then stayed there as Team Sky set the pace behind, flexing their muscles and perhaps playing mind games on their rivals.  

The seven riders worked smoothly together as they followed the now flat coast road and passed the stunning ruins of Paestum, with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step also helping Team Sky with the chase.

The first of the two climbs of the stage began after 145km, heading quickly into the Cilento hills. The San Mauro Cilento climb was not difficult but De Backer was dropped, reducing the break to six. Many of the sprinters also suffered on the eight-kilometre climb, with Cavendish, Bouhanni, Chicchi, Gavazzi all going into the red and losing contact.

Up front, the riders in the break sprinted for the mountain points, with Taborre even using his shoulder and head to fight his way clear to accelerate away. However, Wauters was the strongest and was first to the line.  Behind the Team Sky steamroller powered on, reducing the gap to less than three minutes. As a result, the break ran out of steam, morale and unity, with Taborre going clear alone on a rise. He opened a gap of a minute but the peloton continued to chase them down as the final climb loomed.

The Sella di Catona climb started gradually, included a short dip and then kicked up again. Few expected any fireworks, but that all changed with 27km to go, when Garmin-Sharp went on the front and then Hesjedal accelerated away alone. For a few seconds it seemed the race could explode but then the big teams got organised and Astana set the pace and led the chase. Hesjedal eased up and let the front group of chasers catch him. But Puccio was not there and would lose seven minutes at the finish of the stage.

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) jumped away to take the mountain points but would lose his blue climber's jersey to Wauters. Straight after the summit, the attacks came again. Valerio Agnoli (Astana) went first and Hesjedal joined him, with other riders going across to them on the fast and technical descent to the coast.

For a while there was no sign of Wiggins or Team Sky but the men in black gradually moved back up near the front. Paolini took advantage as the overall contenders watched each other. He is an excellent descender and gradually opened a gap, giving him time to celebrate his first ever Giro d'Italia stage win and take the pink jersey.

After just three days, the overall contenders have already begun to clash and are already in the top ten overall. Paolini leads Wiggins by 17 seconds, with Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) third at the same time. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is fifth at 31 seconds with  Hesjedal seventh at 34 seconds.

Tuesday's fourth stage is one of the longest of this year's Giro d'Italia. It is 246km long and includes a gradual 12km climb up to the finish. It could spark more attacks.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha5:43:50
2Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:16
3Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-SharpRow 2 - Cell 2
4Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 3 - Cell 2
5Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 4 - Cell 2
6Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) KatushaRow 5 - Cell 2
7Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 6 - Cell 2
8Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 7 - Cell 2
9Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack LeopardRow 10 - Cell 2
12Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 11 - Cell 2
13Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 13 - Cell 2
15Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Yury Trofimov (Rus) KatushaRow 15 - Cell 2
17Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling0:00:36
19Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:00:49
20Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:00:50
21Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 23 - Cell 2
25Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 24 - Cell 2
26Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 25 - Cell 2
27Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La MondialeRow 26 - Cell 2
28Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 27 - Cell 2
29Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 28 - Cell 2
30Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 30 - Cell 2
32Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida0:01:00
33Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 32 - Cell 2
34Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:01:37
35Alessandro Proni (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:01:52
36Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 35 - Cell 2
37Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) ColombiaRow 36 - Cell 2
38Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 38 - Cell 2
40Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJRow 39 - Cell 2
41Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 40 - Cell 2
42Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 42 - Cell 2
44Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 43 - Cell 2
45Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 44 - Cell 2
46Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJRow 45 - Cell 2
47Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 47 - Cell 2
49Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack LeopardRow 50 - Cell 2
52Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 53 - Cell 2
55Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack LeopardRow 55 - Cell 2
57Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) KatushaRow 56 - Cell 2
58Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 57 - Cell 2
59Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 58 - Cell 2
60Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 59 - Cell 2
61Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 60 - Cell 2
62Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 61 - Cell 2
63Petr Ignatenko (Rus) KatushaRow 62 - Cell 2
64Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 63 - Cell 2
65Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) ColombiaRow 64 - Cell 2
66Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 65 - Cell 2
67Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-MeridaRow 66 - Cell 2
68Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 67 - Cell 2
69Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 68 - Cell 2
70Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:02:03
71Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:03:05
72Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 71 - Cell 2
73Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky Procycling0:03:23
74Dalivier Ospina Navarro (Col) Colombia0:03:31
75Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha0:04:24
76Jarlinson Pantano (Col) ColombiaRow 75 - Cell 2
77Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling0:07:05
78Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 77 - Cell 2
79Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia0:08:27
80Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto BelisolRow 79 - Cell 2
81Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto BelisolRow 80 - Cell 2
82Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 82 - Cell 2
84Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 83 - Cell 2
85Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 84 - Cell 2
86Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 85 - Cell 2
87Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 86 - Cell 2
88Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 87 - Cell 2
89Ricardo Mestre (Por) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 88 - Cell 2
90Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJRow 89 - Cell 2
91Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 90 - Cell 2
92Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 91 - Cell 2
93Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 92 - Cell 2
94Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 93 - Cell 2
95Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJRow 94 - Cell 2
96Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 95 - Cell 2
97Stefano Locatelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 96 - Cell 2
98Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 98 - Cell 2
100Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 102 - Cell 2
104Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 103 - Cell 2
105Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 104 - Cell 2
106Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 106 - Cell 2
108Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 107 - Cell 2
109Christian Knees (Ger) Sky ProcyclingRow 108 - Cell 2
110Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 109 - Cell 2
111Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 111 - Cell 2
113Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 112 - Cell 2
114Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 113 - Cell 2
115Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) RadioShack LeopardRow 114 - Cell 2
116Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 115 - Cell 2
117Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 116 - Cell 2
118Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 117 - Cell 2
119Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 118 - Cell 2
120Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 119 - Cell 2
121Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 121 - Cell 2
123Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto BelisolRow 122 - Cell 2
124Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 123 - Cell 2
125Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto BelisolRow 124 - Cell 2
126Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 125 - Cell 2
127Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 126 - Cell 2
128Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 127 - Cell 2
129Robert Vrecer (Slo) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 128 - Cell 2
130Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 129 - Cell 2
131Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 130 - Cell 2
132Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 131 - Cell 2
133Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 132 - Cell 2
134Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 133 - Cell 2
135Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro TeamRow 134 - Cell 2
136George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack LeopardRow 135 - Cell 2
137Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 136 - Cell 2
138Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) KatushaRow 137 - Cell 2
139Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) ColombiaRow 138 - Cell 2
140José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 139 - Cell 2
141Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 140 - Cell 2
142Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:12:16
143Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-MeridaRow 142 - Cell 2
144Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:12:55
145Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJRow 144 - Cell 2
146Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha0:13:37
147Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Sharp0:14:17
148Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 147 - Cell 2
149Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 148 - Cell 2
150Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 149 - Cell 2
151Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-SharpRow 150 - Cell 2
152Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-SharpRow 151 - Cell 2
153Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 152 - Cell 2
154Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team