Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 3 of Paris-Nice, a 170.2 kilometre dash from Châtel-Guyon to Brioude.
The race continues its run down to Nice with three categorised climbs on today's stage profile.
Col de Potey (3rd cat.) at 85.km
Cote de la Foret de la Comte (3rd cat) at 95.5km
Cote de Mauvagnat (2nd cat) at 155km
The stage should suit a break but with time gaps still marginal there's always the risk of the GC contenders and sprinters wanting to keep the action has close as possible. Less than 9 riders are more than 5 minutes down on GC.
Here's how the top ten looks coming into the stage, with Viviani leading after picking up vital bonus seconds in yesterday's stage. His lead in the race also comes down to the strong performance he put in during the opening prologue on Sunday, where his track skills and pursuit engine paid dividend.
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale 10:33:11
2 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:07
3 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:08
4 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:09
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:10
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Blanco
7 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ
8 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:11
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard
10 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
109km remaining from 170km
To bring you up to speed with the action so far. A four man group is off the front and we've raced just over 60 kilometers. The names in the break:
Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Sébastien Minard (AG2R) , Mads Christensen (Saxo Bank) and Alexis Vuillermoz (Sojasun).
The gap is at 4 minutes with Cannondale on the front.
The break are about 15km from the feedzone at the moment and they've gained another 15 seconds on the peloton.
Vuillermoz is just 18 seconds off yellow so he's the virtual leader of the race at the moment. There's a very good chance of someone from the break picking up the KOM jersey today so for now that's probably the first objective for these four riders.
Now's probably a good time to go through the latest news. Last night Michael Boogerd, the ex-rider who oddly labelled Floyd Landis as an 'arrogant jellyfish', confessed to doping during his career.
The former Rabobank rider had always denied doping. However, in a TV interview he says that he rode the Tour de France clean. He won two stages and finished in the top ten in 1998. You can read the story, right here.
In other news BMC have painted a bike in the same colours as Lamborghini. It does look very nice though.
And there are some absolutely priceless quotes regarding the Puerto case. You can check them out here.
Back to the race and the break has passed through the feedzone. Their advantage has slipped to 3:50.
90km remaining from 170km
We're about half-way through the stage, and the leaders are closing in on the first climb of the day.
Keizer wins the race to the top of the climb and as a result draws level with Lindeman on four points in the KOM competition.
The Cote de la Foret de la Comte is less than 5km away and either Vuillermoz or Keizer could take the lead in the KOM competition at the top.
@petercossins Wed, 6th Mar 2013 12:54:16
The break has lost a few more seconds, with the gap coming down to 3:45.
The day's final climb could certainly be crucial. It's a second cat climb 15km from the finish. It's unlikely we'll see a lone rider win, but the climb will certainly see a fair amount of sprinters fall off the back. Chavanel is 7 seconds down on Viviani so don't be surprised if we see QuickStep try and unsettle the Cannondale rider on the climb.
Chavanel has never won this race. He's made the final step of the podium and picked up two stage wins before. This could be his best chance yet.
Let us know who you're picking for the stage win.
Sojasun will be happy with a rider in the break today. They're under a fair amount of pressure as a ride in the Tour de France is far from secure. Three wildcard places remain but they've done little so far this year to justify a space.
In general the standard of ProContinental teams seems to be pretty low this year. There are a few notable exceptions of course.
71km remaining from 170km
Keizer picked up another 4 points on the last climb so he leads the KOM outright now.
@mrconde Wed, 6th Mar 2013 13:29:45
By the way, the latest edition of CN HD is out now. Here's a sneak preview.
Meanwhile the gap is still holding at 3:30.
This is where it's going to become even tougher for the four men out front. They've got roughly 40km until the next climb, and the bunch are closing in with the gap down to 3:20. We're likely to see the peloton gain another minute and then hold the gap at around the 2 minute mark.
50km remaining from 170km
The rain is continuing to fall on the peloton. Tom Boonen in on the front at the moment with a train of Cannondale riders behind him. The gap has gone back out to 4 minutes though.
@saddleblaze Wed, 6th Mar 2013 13:58:08
45km remaining from 170km
45 km to go with the break still working well. They have 3:30 on the bunch at the moment but they'll need well over 2 minutes before starting the final climb.
Boonen is the only rider from Omega lending Cannondale a hand at the front of the bunch at the moment. The gap is slowly coming down though and is at 3:20 now.
36km remaining from 170km
Boonen has shed his rain jacket and rests over the bars in his time trial position. Meanwhile Minard has problems with his rain jacket and needs to drop back to the team car.
32km remaining from 170km
Viviani continues to be protected by his Cannondale teammates. They and Boonen have brought the gap down to 2:34
RadioShack come to the front to give the chase a bit more urgency. Tony Gallopin is in the main field and is certainly a threat for the sprint if some of the purer sprinters are dropped on the final climb.
The gap is down to less than two minutes as we head towards the final climb of the day.
Boonen has been joined by a few more Omega teammates. The break has come down to 1:15.
The pace in the bunch has shot up and the peloton are lined out with a number of riders struggling. We're not even on the climb yet but the conditions are making it incredibly tough out there.
25km remaining from 170km
25km to go and the gap is at 50 seconds. The rain is pouring down though as the fight for position at the front of the bunch intensifies.
We're on the climb and the gap is down to just 20 seconds.
Katusha and Astana have positioned men near the front of the peloton as the break sits up.
22km remaining from 170km
The road dips down before rising up again and the break are finally caught. Westra who had a problem with his bike is coming back through the peloton.
Ivan Basso has a mechanical and he's off the back but chasing. He's with the cars so he should come back from here.
AG2R set the pace on the front but it's pretty steady at the moment.
Katusha aren't happy and come to the front, increasing the pace again.
Kittel has been dropped according to race radio but that's not confirmed yet.
Viviani is near the back of the peloton at the moment but the road has flattened somewhat.
Boonen having worked so hard, has sat up.
Richie Porte is near the front as Sky now begin to set the pace with six riders forming a train. Kloden, a former winner of this race, is also near the head of affairs.
The Sky rider at the front almost loses it going around one slick bend but he manages to rescue the situation. We've 18km to go.
Basso passes Boonen as he tries to come back to the front of the race. Sky are splitting the race apart though. Viviani ha been dropped.
Iglinskiy attacks but he's not getting much room and Sky adjust the pace and begin to bring him back.
We've still got around 60 riders in the main field but Viviani isn't one of them. He's off the back with one teammate for company.
The pace at the front has eased a bit though as Sky and Astana control the peloton.
And Iglinskiy goes again. We're 1km from the summit of the climb.
All the GC favourites, apart from Basso are in the lead group. As Iglinskiy is brought back again.
Viviani certainly wont keep the leader's jersey. He's now 1:15 down on the peloton.
14km remaining from 170km
Less than 15km to go. Sky lead the peloton on the descent with Grivko just ahead of them. Perhaps a taste of things to come this May with Nibali and Sky at the Giro.
Grivko has opened up a small gap as he takes a few risks. One Sky rider has made it across to him and more are on the way.
12km remaining from 170km
Kiryienka was with Grivko but he's crashes and almost takes the Astana rider with him. The Sky rider looks fine to continue but Grivko is forced to slam on the breaks and he's about to be caught.
Five riders have gone clear though, Grivko one of them, Bardet also there. As Talansky and Porte give chase. The Sky rider in the lead group has sat up and waits for the pair.
BMC are leading the chase from the peloton, while the Porte group have made contact with the leaders.
Van Garderen is asking for help with the chase but it's not coming. There are just 7.4km to go .
Scarponi, Roche, they're with Westra, Chavanel and the BMC group.
The gap between the two groups is less than 10 seconds at the moment.
Grivko calls Porte through but the gap is down to less than five seconds now.
Andriy Grivko, Romain Bardet, David Lopez Garcia, Gorka Izaguirre, Davide Malacarne, Richie Porte, Andrew Talansky are the riders in the lead group.
5km remaining from 170km
Less than km to go and the bunch still haven't caught this lead group of Andriy Grivko, Romain Bardet, David Lopez Garcia, Gorka Izaguirre, Davide Malacarne, Richie Porte, Andrew Talansky
The peloton have lost more ground. This lead group are going to contest the sprint and the race lead.
Richie Porte and David Lopez (Sky), Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel), Romain Bardet (Ag2R), Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar)
The road rises and Badret leads. Two Sky riders in the lead group.
3km remaining from 170km
Chavanel is taking up the chase himself now as the lead goes out to around 15 seconds to the leaders.
The leaders cant afford to mess around though. Cofidis and Astana are leading the charge.
Porte puts Lopez to work for one final turn. There's 1km to go.
Porte increases the pace, he's thinking about the GC.
he's going to lead out the sprint.
And Talansky gets the win. He came through the middle and simply had too much for the rest of the break. Sky did all the work in the run in first with Lopez and then Porte. The van Garderen group comes over the line a minute down.
That's Garmin's first win of the season..
As well as taking the stage it looks like Talansky will move into yellow. He started the stage 20 seconds off Viviani's lead but was the best placed rider in the late break.
Confirmation that Talansky leads the race by three seconds from Grivko.
stage 3 results:
1 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 4:06:15
2 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
3 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky Procycling
5 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
8 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun 0:00:07
9 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
10 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
1 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 14:39:36
2 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:04
5 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:05
6 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:06
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
8 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:08
9 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky Procycling 0:00:09
10 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun 0:00:12
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