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Giro d'Italia 2014: Stage 3

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage from stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia from Armagh to Dublin.

Hello and welcome back to our live coverage of the Giro d'Italia We're in Armagh for the start of stage 3, around 20 minutes until the roll out and riders are in the middle of signing of for the day's action. It's our last stage here in Ireland before the race heads back to Italy.

Maglia rosa Michael Matthews is on the podium with his Orica GreenEDGE teammates right now and is waving to the crowds. The Australian is hoping to keep the jersey for a week. He has a decent buffer in the GC so it's certainly possible. You can read about his chances, right here.

Here's how things stand on GC coming into the stage. Petacchi can still catch Matthews, potentially, but he's counted himself out of the sprints for now as he looks to help keep Rigoberto Uran safe:

 

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 5:37:54
2 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica Greenedge 0:00:03
3 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge
4 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica Greenedge
5 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge
6 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica Greenedge
7 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:08
8 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
9 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
10 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

The peloton has meanwhile gathered on the startline, we're just a few minutes from the off. Matthews, huge grin, is at the front of the bunch. He's really soaking this all in, leading the Giro in his first attempt.

Another man with the pressure off is Marcel Kittel.The German powerhouse took his first ever Giro stage yesterday in Belfast, meaning he has won in all three grand tours. He's of course taken an early lead in the points competition:

 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 50 pts
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 40
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 34
4 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida 32
5 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale 28
6 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 26
7 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 22
8 Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo 20
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 18
10 Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 16

And after yesterday's break, here's where we stand in the KOM :

 

1 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 6 pts
2 Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo 3
3 Jeffry Johan Romero Corredor (Col) Colombia 2
4 Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Belisol 1

And we're off. Grey clouds and the constant threat of rain at the moment for the riders. Conditions will change throughout the day, just as they did on stage 1 and 2.

Another reason for Kittel to smile, he's 26 today. He's once again the favourite for the stage win today. He was a bridge too far for the opposition yesterday. If he's put near the front, and doesnt have any obstacles with 200m to go he's going to be almost impossible to beat in this year's race.

In other news this morning, Nacer Bouhanni could leave FDJ. He, along with Sagan, are the only top tier sprinters on the market for 2015 and the Frenchman has a number of teams looking at him. We caught up with his agent this morning to find out more. You can read the story, just here.

He's at it again, Tjallingii, the leader in the KOM is in the break once more. He and several riders broke free after 6km of racing and they have over 3 minutes on the bunch already.

Yonder Godoy (Androni), Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin), Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol) and Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo) is at 40 seconds.

And Cecchinel looks to have made contact, so we now have five riders up the road. There are two early KOM 4th cat climbs so Tjallingii will be looking to gobble up the points and extend his lead in the competition.

The two 4th cat climbs come at 23.2km and 51km today. If Tjallingii wins them both, he'll have 12 points and take the jersey back to Italy. In fact if he scores anything on the climbs he'll be in the jersey.

The main danger for the bunch today might be the cross winds in the second half of the stage. Belkin are the masters of riding in these, remember what they did at the Tour last year. Having Tjallingii up the road might be a good idea, as he can now radio through with the exact conditions and give his teammates a heads up on what to expect.

Dave Everett ‏@ShoddyCycling 45m

It's @HansenAdam and @marcelkittel birthday today. Both in the same hotel tonight, so could be a birthday drink off. @Lotto_Belisol

167km remaining from 187km

20km into the stage and the gap is now out to 5'40.

Orica are on the front but no intention of chasing just yet.

If you've not caught up with our tech coverage James Huang has shot these images from the TTT.

 

While he's also profiled Rigoberto Uran's road bike.

157km remaining from 187km

30km covered and the break of Yonder Godoy (Androni), Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin), Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol) and Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo) have around six minutes on the peloton.

Tjallingii said yesterday that he would try and get in the break once more:

 

"There are not many chances to be in breakaways in this Giro, so I wanted to try today," Tjallingii said. "I felt I was in control of the group, and when I won the first points sprint, I wanted to go for the second one. I got the jersey, and I am satisfied because I think I got the most out of the day's effort.

 

"Tomorrow there will be another chance for a breakaway, so maybe I can get in the group and defend the jersey."

147km remaining from 187km

40KM covered and the gap is holding at 5'40.

Belkin Pro Cycling ‏@TeamBelkin 5m

#Giro - @mtjallingii first at the top and managed to take again KOM points. He will be wearing the blue jersey also in Italy.

Tjallingii now has 9 points in the KOM and with no climbs on stage 4 he'll wear the jersey until at least the end of stage 5.

Before the race, our friends at inCycleTV spent some time with Tinkoff Saxo during the training camp. You can watch the video, right here. And remember you can subscribe to our Youtube channel, for free, here.

Tinkoff Saxo of course come into the race with Nicolas Roche as their main GC guy. Riding on home roads he's been very popular with the Irish fans in the last few days. He's currently 26 seconds down on GC. A good position at this stage.

143km remaining from 187km

44km in and the gap has dropped just a tad, down to 5'25.

The wind has picked up quite a bit now, and at the finish it has started to rain.

112km remaining from 187km

112km to go and the break have 4'10 on the peloton but Orica have started to really chase at the moment.

The five leaders, now in sunshine, are still working well together and the cooperation is paying off at the moment. Once again the crowds are huge but the gap has dipped under 4 minutes now.

Former maglia rosa Svein Tuft is the man on the front setting the pace.

At the back of the peloton an FDJ rider wrestles with his rain jacket. Up ahead, Matthews is in the maglia rosa.

Just over 100km to go and Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo has dropped back to the team car but there's been a crash and Fedi, who was in the break, has crashed. He's on his feet but he needs a new bike.

Maarten Tjallingii has snapped up the intermediate sprint too.

And there's been a crash this time in the bunch and it's Wilco Kelderman who is down.

An Androni rider has also fallen and that happened in the intermediate sprint. Belletti is the Androni and he's up but looks in a lot of pain. Keldermann is back on the bike.

The Belkin team car pulls up to the break and Tjallingii has a word with his DS.

 

A reminder of where things stand on GC:

 

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 5:37:54
2 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica Greenedge 0:00:03
3 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge
4 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica Greenedge
5 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge
6 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica Greenedge
7 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:08
8 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
9 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
10 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

The bunch are back in sunshine now and along wide flat roads. At the finish the rain is pouring down. The gap between the peloton and the break is at 2'40 with 96km to go.

90km remaining from 187km

90km to go and the gap is at 1'53.

Matthews has time to talk to an old teammate Beppu and the gap has gone back out to 2'11.

The break run through the feedone and it's raining on them yet again. The bunch has sat up a bit more though and the gap pushes back out to 2'21

It's wet enough for Matthews to pull on his rain jacket too as he drifts to the back of the peloton.

Malori is calling for the team car as the bunch now hit the feedzone. And the rain.

80km remaining from 187km

80km to go and the gap moves back out to 3'38. It had dipped under two minutes earlier.

A reminder of our video previewing the top five sprinters in the race this year. Can anyone beat Kittel though or is the German in a league of his own here in the Giro?

The rain has become pretty constant in the last 20 minutes or so but the break have taken a few more seconds: the gap is out to 3'53 with 77km to go.

Kittel in red is chaperoned by his Giant-Shimano teammates. The German doesn’t look to be enjoying the conditions. He’s close to the front though, and will be confident ahead of the sprint finish for today.

Into a headwind, the break continue to hold their own, the gap to the peloton at 3'53 still. 70km remaining.

No news on Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli and Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team since their fall. We think both riders are back in the peloton.

Belletti is actually at the back of the bunch and is chasing back through the cars. It looks like he's been back to the medical/team car for assistance.

At the front of the bunch Orica have been replaced by FDJ. BMC are also active, looking to protect Cadel Evans at this stage.

Belletti has his left leg wrapped in bandages and looks to be in a lot of pain. He just needs to get through today and then he can recover tomorrow as it's a rest day.

A big hello to the 26 CN readers in Singapore who are following today's live coverage.

62km remaining from 187km

62km to go and the gap is at 3'36 as Monfort drops back to the Lotto team car and takes of a layer of lycra. There's a teammate waiting for him too.

And there's been a major crash and Scarponi is down.

A lot of the Astana riders are on the floor.

There's a Garmin rider down too.

Martinelli is out of the car, Scarponi is at least back on his feet but that's a major scare for the Italian.

The peloton has eased up.

They're picking Astana riders out of the bushes. Hoogerland was also involved.

They all seem to riding again but a reminder of how quickly the race can change.

58km to go and the gap is at 3'49.

Brian Smith ‏@BriSmithy 1m

Really feel sorry for Ireland....a beautiful country in the sunshine #giroditalia2014

All back together in the bunch now, the Astana fallers have made it back. The slowing pace has meant that the break have pushed their lead back out to 4'15 with 54km to go.

Scarponi isn't messing around now. He and his team have moved right to the front of the peloton. Gasparotto though is back with the medical car, as it looks like he landed on his face in that crash.

50km remaining from 187km

into the final 50km and the gap to the break is at 3'53.

The race now passes through Balbringgan, and the crowds once again turn out in force.

Basso has to stop and get a new front wheel. The former winner of the race is chasing and should make contact without too much effort needed.

Giant Shimano are now controlling affairs on the front of the peloton. There's still a slight headwind and that's been with the riders for most of the day.

Matthews is once again near the back of the peloton but he has a number of teammates with him. It looks as though he's just changing his jacket one last time before the sprint finish.

FDJ continue to the set the pace, just with one or two men mind. The leaders still have three minutes on the peloton but the chase is begin to organise once again.

Ventoso, a former stage winner here in the Giro, is near the front too. The finish doesnt really suit him today and he'll be looking to simply keep Quintana out of trouble. A lot of people pointed to these stages as a possible danger point for the Colombian GC rider but apart from the time he lost in the TTT, he's sailed through the stages in Ireland so far.

36km remaining from 187km

Well into the final hour of racing and the five leaders are at 2'44. The rain though, well it's even heavier than before. The peloton won't be upset to see the back of Ireland it has to be said.

And there's been another big crash.

Weening is one of the riders down and that might be Boassan Hagen too.

Niemiec is down and Meyer too.

They came off the roundabout and then the road narrowed due to a traffic island. The Lampre leader is up but needs a new bike. Meyer is being checked over by the medical staff but he looks capable of carrrying on.

The leaders meanwhile have 1'54 with 32km to go.

FDJ, Orica, and Giant are all on the front now and they're not going to wait this time so Niemiec is going to have to work in order to chase back on.

There are around 20 riders off the back of the bunch due to that fall but they should make it back pretty quickly.

29km remaining from 187km

Deignan drifts to the back and has a couple of Sky rain jackets to drop off at the team car. A big day for the Irishman racing on home roads. 29.6km to go and the gap is at 1'16.

There's a real battle at the front of the peloton as the sprint trains start to move up. Omega are now on the front so perhaps Petacchi fancies his chances today.

Astana have also moved up, Scarponi clearly wanting to keep the bunch in check after his earlier fall and with 25km to go the gap is less than a minute.

25km remaining from 187km

25km to go and the gap is at 48 seconds.

More trouble for Astana though with Brajkovic back with the cars due to a mechanical problem.

Tight narrow roads, lots of technical sections and speed bumps. This could be a hectic finale.

Change of bike for Ben Swift.

It's going to be really hard to make it back and recover in time for the finish. The British team already saw Boassan Hagen fall earlier.

The British rider is chasing at full gas but is on his own. It's going to be a big ask with Astana and Omega setting the pace in the bunch.

Michael Rogers brings his Tinkoff team to the front as well. All the GC riders want to keep out of trouble.

The sprint trains have backed off a little bit for now but they'll hit the front once we reach the final 15km or so.

18km to go and the gap to the break is at 47 seconds. Matthews is near the front and with his team around him.

Into the final 15km and now we see BMC drill it on front of the peloton. Matthews is quite far back now but he's looking to move up.

The break are looking a little ragged now, their gap at just 25 seconds.

Petacchi is doing a lot of work on the front for Uran, and Evans has his BMC men on the front of the peloton too. So much road furniture though it hard for a team to really take control.

Trek move up, no sign of Giant or FDJ at the moment though.

Chicchi is off the back with a mechanical problem.

The peloton have bunched up, the speed has dropped off.

18 seconds and the headwind holding off the chase. Rubiano has sat up so we have four riders up the road now and with 9km to go the break is still clear.

The break want to be caught. They've nothing left but the bunch are sitting up.

That's right, it's a race and Cecchinel attacks.

The Italian goes clear with 8km to go and the rest of the break sits up after a long and hard day in the saddle.

Now Giant move up. The pace will hot up with 7km to go.

Cecchinel has been caught. 7.2km to go.

And Roche has a flat and needs a new wheel. It's a quick change but it's outside the final 3km.

The Irishman has teammates with him and he should make it back as BMC set the pace on the front of the peloton.

Into the 5km of racing for stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia.

The peloton have started to line out, the pace jumps up and all the sprinters are watching each other. Cannondale for Vivianni set the pace.

Six men from the Cannondale team are setting the pace, Vivianni neatly tucked in at the back of the train. It looks like Roche has made it back after this flat.

A tight right hand corner and cannodale take it perfectly.

Here come Giant with Kittel well placed with 2.9km to go.

The peloton is starting to stretch and riders could be dropped before the line.

Petacchi is in the mix, he may give it a go today.

But it's Giant on the front , Kittel in red and Petacchi on his wheel and Farrar there too.

Sky are coming up on the right hand side too

FDJ push their way to the front with Cannondale fighting back too.

A tight left hand bend and another one and Cannondale lead with 1km to go.

800m to go and Cannondale are in control.

Kittel is around 6th wheel

The German has drifted back

Here comes Swift, he's on the front with around 100 to go.

But here comes Kittel. He's closing in on the front.

And he takes it. Marcel Kittel edges it on the line with Swift second and I think Vivianni in third.

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
2 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
4 Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
7 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8 Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia
9 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
10 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp

General classification after stage 3

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 10:06:37
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:08
3 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
4 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica Greenedge 0:00:14
5 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge
6 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica Greenedge
7 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge
8 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica Greenedge
9 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19
10 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

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