Tour de France 2013 Stage 3
Ajaccio to Calvi 145.5km


The profile of the third and final Tour de France's Corsican stage was similar to the second stage.  The ride from Ajaccio to Calvi was only 145.5km (91mi), a short, lumpy day with climbs that sap the strength of sprinters, and a largely downhill run to the finish that should be able to gobble up any breakaway. It was also another chance for Cannondale Pro Cycling and Peter Sagan to shoot for the stage victory as well as to rack up points for the Maillot Vert.

Some people think that short races are easy but many times they're harder. Nobody is afraid of the distance. Sure enough, when kilometer zero was reached and the flag waved to begin racing, Vacansoleil-DCM's Lieuwe Westra attacked. He was chased by four others, and by nine kilometers (5.6mi) into the race the group had a 3:01 gap on the peloton.

The escapees worked hard and held off the peloton to the intermediate sprint, 28.5km (18mi) into the day. Cannondale led the field to this line, hoping to give Sagan the points he needed to take the Green Jersey from Marcel Kittel of Argos Shimano. Kittel was first in the bunch, sixth on points, while Sagan could only manage fifth in the bunch, tenth on points. Kittel's gap grew. For the moment.

With the sprint decided, the RadioShack team took over chasing duties for teammate and race leader Jan Bakelants. They wanted to catch the break on the final climb, as that would mean at that point they could sit back and let teams interested in the stage win control the race.

On that final climb, the category two Col de Marsolino, the break fell apart, and King of the Mountains leader Pierre Rolland of Europcar took over, in search of points to increase his lead. He got them with only 13km (8.1mi) of descending to the finish. As Rolland dropped down the mountain, he was joined by three others. They worked well together and held a ten-second lead on the storming peloton for ten kilometers (6.25mi).

The break caught, Cannondale and Orica-Greenedge drove the pack to the finish line. Into the final kilometer, Orica took over from Cannondale, leading their man Simon Gerrans to the final right-hand curve with Sagan on his wheel.  Coming out of the turn, it was Gerrans on the right, Sagan on the left, in a drag race to the line. Into the final meters, both riders threw their bikes, a photo finish. When the film was stopped and reviewed, Gerrans had taken the win by several centimeters.

Second on today’s stage, Sagan took over the Maillot Vert as the leader of the Points competition. Kittel had been dropped on the last climb and didn't have a chance to sprint. Sagan also won the best young rider competition for the second day in a row.

"I'm still feeling the effects of the crash; I'm not feeling so good on the climbs." Said Sagan after the finish. I'm happy with second. Congratulations to Gerrans on the victory. I get to take over the Green Jersey. I'll try to keep it until Paris. But it's hard every day. We'll see how we go tomorrow."

Tomorrow's Stage Four is a 25km TTT in downtown Nice. The course is largely an out-and-back format, starting and finishing on the waterfront. As the race takes place in the city, the roads are narrow and the turns tight. A well-practiced team that masters the curves is likely to be the winner. Owing to the small time gaps going into the race, there's a strong chance that the winner of the stage will vault their best-placed rider into the Maillot Jaune, and also take over the top several places on general classification.  Cannondale will give their all, knowing that keeping Sagan close could translate into a Yellow Jersey down the road, possibly on the following stage to Marseille.

Stage Three: Ajaccio to Calvi 145.5km

Stage Results

1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge                        in 3:41:24             
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling            at  same time
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team                     same time
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step      same time                     
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team                         same time

Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling

52. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita)                                               same time
84. Kristijan Koren (Slo)                                                        same time
106. Alan Marangoni (Ita)                                                       0:05:02
123. Fabio Sabatini (Ita)                                                          0:08:26
164. Brian Vandborg (Den)                                                    0:09:15
168. Edward King (USA)                                                       same time       
171. Maciej Bodnar (Pol)                                                        same time
172. Moreno Moser (Ita)                                                        same time

General Classification

1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard                           12:21:27           
2. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun                                                 0:00:01             
3. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge                             same time
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step      same time
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling                    same time

General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling

29. Peter Sagan (Svk)                                                              same time
73. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita)                                               0:01:24           
91. Kristijan Koren (Slo)                                                         0:05:39
101. Moreno Moser (Ita)                                                        0:09:16
128. Alan Marangoni (Ita)                                                        0:17:46
131. Maciej Bodnar (Pol)                                                        0:18:21           
144. Brian Vandborg (Den)                                                     0:21:59
162. Fabio Sabatini (Ita)                                                           0:26:01
189. Edward King (USA)                                                       0:26:50


Points Competition

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling                             74 pts
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano                                      57
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha                                                  48       
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step                  41         
5. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team                                   40