Hello and welcome to stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico from Cascina to Arezzo. Please refresh the page to update the live report.
Canola Bardiani is once again on the attack and he has been joined by teammate Nicola Boem, Jay Thomson (MTN Qhubeka), Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) and Cesare Benedetti of (NetApp Endura). It's a break that once again formed during the early stages of the day, with Omega Pharma willing to see a non-threatening group slip clear. They'll be intent on controlling the race again and perhaps setting up Mark Cavendish for another crack at a sprint.
Cavendish and the other pure sprinters won't have it all their own way though, the finish is both technical and demanding, with tight streets in the finishing circuit and then a final kick up at 5 per cent to the line. On paper, at least, it's got Peter Sagan written all over it.
After 67 of racing the break had a lead of 4'23 but it has recently tipped nicely over the five minute mark with Omega on the front doing the work to control the pace. Cavendish, of course, still in blue after he led home his team in the opening TTT. A win is a win, but he'll be looking for a sprint win in this race as he builds up for Milan-San Remo, which is just over a week away.
Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) knows these road well, and the finish like the back of his hands as he drops his children off at nursey right by the line. He's certainly capable of contesting a sprint like today's and his experience will certainly help.
And here's how things stand on GC at the moment:
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 4:16:25
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
4 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:02
6 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:03
7 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica Greenedge 0:00:11
8 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge
9 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica Greenedge
10 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge
You can read our full story on Bennati right here, but after Matteo Pelucchi claimed yesterday's tense battle for the stage win, there will be plenty of riders inspired to take on the supposed big name sprinters later today.
95km remaining from 210km
95km to go and the gap is at 5'10.
And the peloton are willing to let the gap slip a little further and it drifts out to 6'30.
Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF) has sat up, leaving us with Nicola Boem, Jay Thomson (MTN Qhubeka), Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp Endura) in the lead.
Away from the race, we've put together a collection of neo-pro mistakes with the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Horner sharing their stories from their first year experiences in the pro peloton. A bit of colourful language in places, so you've been warned, but well worth a watch.
75km remaining from 210km
75km to go and the gap is at 6'37.
Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) drifts towards the front of the peloton. The Italian is certainly a contender for today's stage, he will suit the climb up to the finish and if he can find the right position inside the final 400m he's a match for anyone. He won in San Luis, Mallorca, and Algarve so he's certainly enjoying life in the WorldTour this season.
The four leaders are working well together at the moment and they continue with 64km to go. MTN have a rider in the break for the second time in as many days as the lead hovers at 6'24.
The sun is out today as well and there's little in the way of wind, so we've perfect conditions for racing at this time of year. Even though the break have over 6 minutes, you'd certainly expect a full-on reaction from the peloton within the next few minutes.
And the peloton are already increasing the pace, with riders starting to drift back to the team cars to take off a layer of clothing, as BMC start to move up towards the front. They have Evans here of course, and they'll be looking to protect the Austrailan. Who knows, perhaps he'll fancy his chances. More likely is that they'll be looking to set up Gilbert.
60km remaining from 210km
60km to go and the gap has dropped slightly to 6'04.
Bradley Wiggins sits at the back of the peloton as the gap drops down to 5'18. Coming up the riders will start the finishing circuit for the first time, with Lampre on the front.
And it's Lampre who lead the peloton over the line for the first time, Omega and Cavendish are just behind Horner's men. The pace isn't going to drop at all now and the bunch are really winding things up. Kittel is close towards the head of affairs as well.
Demare is here too, with FDJ riders sitting around him. The finish also suits him, but so much of today's finale is going to come down to timing.
It's currently Petacchi who leads the field, the former sprinter doing his share of the work in bringing back the break. The lead is now down to 4'36.
Modolo, meanwhile, has dropped back to the Lampre team car. He picks up a bottle and heads back to the bunch. Surely a teammate could have done that for him, but perhaps he wanted to have a chat face-to-face with his DS.
Tour de France former winner Bradley Wiggins is back with the team car too, picking up at least one bottle.
46km remaining from 210km
Almost into the final 45km and the leaders have 4'06. Wiggins is still at the back of the field but looking comfortable. His teammate Richie Porte, who is here for the GC, is closer to the front.
Less than four minutes for the leaders as they head towards the finish for a second time. The road rises gently with around 1km to go before hitting 11 percent and then 5 per cent.
Pozzato is now back with the Lampre car, while up ahead one of his teammates set the pace.
Curvers has crashed. It looked like he lost concentration and went straight ahead at a roundabout but he may have seen it late. There was no official there to warn him it seems. He's back on his feet though and after a long wait for a new bike, is back chasing.
35km remaining from 210km
The gap is down to three minutes and the break is starting to fall apart with Thurau going clear. He uses the incline before the line as his launchpad to attack and there's a strong chance riders will use that on the final ascent before the finishline.
QuickStep are all over the front of the peloton, with Cavendish safely tucked in as well. The road narrows as they line moves closer with the peloton now 2'28 down.
Thurau still leads, the German in a similar position to Alex Dowsett who attacked the break in yesterday's stage.
Thurau leads by 35 seconds with the bunch further back at 2'20 as we dip into the final 25km of racing.
The lone Europcar rider is doing a decent job at the moment, as he extends his lead to 40 seconds, with the bunch still at 2'10. The chase is becoming more organised though with Omega on the front. Belkin and Cannondale are close by too.
Parts of the final circuit suits a lone rider and Thurau is making the most of the opportunity as he draws up and out of the saddle as the incline increases. He's not a pure climber but he's looking strong.
The three chasers are almost a minute behind now with the bunch a further 60 seconds down.
Cannondale lead the peloton over the line with Ivan Basso in second wheel.
Greipel and his Lotto team are in the middle of the pack but are looking to move up as the field come over the line with 19km to go.
Thurau has 1'14 on the chasers, with the bunch at 1'20. The three riders are about to be caught with 17km to go.
And now we just have one lone rider up the road with Katusha trying to move into contention at the front of the peloton.
And Wiggins is now on the front as he moves Porte and a few other Sky riders up.
Saxo are doing the same thing with Bennati and Contador both looking to play a part in today's action.
Thurau's lead is down to 1'10 and the wheels are starting to fall off. It looks like Kittle isn't going to contest the sprint today, as he sits at the very back of the bunch.
Devolder is trying to get Trek into the action as BMC drag Evans up as well. All the GC contenders want to be near the front, as well as the sprinters. It's going to be so hard for a single team to take control here.
13km remaining from 210km
The direct result from all of this energy is that the gap to Thurau drops to 50 seconds.
Contador has fixed himself to Evans' back wheel for now.
12km remaining from 210km
We're about to start the final lap with Thurau holding just a 30 second gap.
Into the final 9km and Thurau is within touching distance for the bunch, as Renshaw is spotted near the back of the field.
Contador right near the front though as a number of teams look to control the pace.
And it's Tinkoff on the front now with Bennati a possible contender for the finish. Thurau has just 20 seconds.
Into the final 8km of racing and Thurau can see the peloton are closing. He looks over his right shoulder and as the road rises he will know that it's almost over.
Three Tinkoff riders are on the front, doing all the work.
The gap is down to under 10 seconds.
Thurau sits up. It's all over for the German. A solid ride from the Europcar rider though.
Saxo, Lotto, Astana all on the front as Contador controls his troops.
Belkin and Omega riders are also in the mix as well.
But it's all Tinkoff at the moment as we hit the final 5km.
A roundabout splits the field as Giant and Lotto accelerate. BMC kick as well with Gilbert in contention and here come Cannondale as well.
Greipel is well positioned with 3km to go and his team are on the front now.
FDJ and Demare, Cannondale and Sagan fancy their chances.
FDJ and Demare, Cannondale and Sagan fancy their chances.
Hansen is taking a huge turn.
Sky are coming, a bit late but here they come.
Omega now lead perhaps for Uran or Kwiatkowski
Cavendish doesnt appear to be there are BMC lead with 1km to go.
Onto the final kick for the line.
Right hand corner and omega lead.
Now a left and a kick for the line.
Gilbert is there and Kwiatkowski
Just a few hundred to go.
The BMC rider has a small gap but Sagan is winding up.
Out of the saddle as Gilbert kicks but Sagan is getting close as they can both see the line.
Gilbert may have gone to early as Sagan edges clear.
Sagan takes it.
Kwiatkowski takes second, Simon Clarke third and Gilbert has to settle for fourth.
And Sagan wins with a healthy margin and has time to raise both hands. That should mean Kwiatkowski moves into the leader's jersey but there's no confirmation yet.
Bennati was back in 6th.
Kwiatkowski does now lead the race with his teammate Uran in second place. Omega Pharma have been on fire so far this season.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 5:10:17
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
3 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
6 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
7 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
8 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
9 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:04
10 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:04
And here's how we stand on GC after three stages:
1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 9:26:36
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:10
3 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:13
Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results, and photos right here.
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