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42nd Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3
By Fabio
Date: 3/16/2007
42nd Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3

Riccardo Riccó Vittoria  Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Riccardo Riccó (Ita - Saunier Duval-Prodir) has won Friday's stage three in the 2007 "Corsa dei due mari" ("Race of the Two Seas"), from Marsciano to Macerata over 216 km. The 1983-born rider from Formigine, near Modena, powered away from the lead bunch on the small climb of 2,700 metres (with a maximum gradient of 10 percent) near the finishing line, as he countered a first move from Michele Scarponi (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), and held off the oncoming peloton in the last (flat) 300-400 metres to clinch his second win of the season, after opening his 2007 account at the lesser-known Vuelta de San Luis in Argentina. Riccó is one of the best prospects in Italian cycling, along with Giovanni Visconti, who is more of a Classics rider, and Vincenzo Nibali, who's better for stage races. In his own words Riccò, who's going to attend the next Giro d'Italia to help team leader Gibo Simoni but also aim for some personal glory if possible, falls somewhere in between.

The red bird of Saunier Duval sings... Ricardo attacks!! Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Alexander Vinokourov and Andreas Kloden took the other top three spots. The Russian Alex Arekeev (Acqua & Sapone) maintained the yellow/red jersey of race leader. But some more guys made the headlines today, even if for well different reasons.

Alex Arekeev in the red/yellow leaders jersey escorted by his red clad Aqua e Sapone team mates. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

First, the French youngster Dimitri Champion (Bouygues Telecom) who broke away solo after just a few km. and stayed clear all by himself for 164 km. He was caught in the last lap of the final circuit, with about 22k left. And later Ivan Basso, one of the guys who fell during today's stage and - according to recent updates - hit his fist! Not exactly what the man needed most, especially after his after-Tour of California knee problems. The extent of his fist injury is still unknown - we'll tell you more as we get more news - but his presence at the start line tomorrow is in doubt. Also Paolo Bettini hit the tarmac (for the second time in six days, after his fall on the Superga descent at Milano-Torino the past Saturday) and someone else's bike ended up on his hands, hampering his abilities to attack on the final climb.

Here's ... the action as it happened (all the way from this afternoon's "two-race live ticker):

Today we (better, the riders and the whole T-A crew) move eastward from MARSCIANO (Umbria region of Central Italy) to downtown - so to speak - Macerata (Marche region) over 213 km.. The finish is at the end of the third lap of a final circuit of 23.2 km. The only categorised climb of the day, Passo del Cornello, comes after just 77.7 kilometres, a bit too early for it to prove decisive. Today's two traguardi volanti (Hot Spot Sprints) are situated at Castelraimondo (km. 105.2), and the same Macerata (e.g. at the third passage over the line/start of the last lap - km. 189.8).

The Tirreno stage got underway with Alexander Arekeev in the overall leader's yellow/red jersey, after the Russian notched up his first ever victory in the pro ranks by completing a successful and sensational breakaway of 201 kilometres (basically from the start to finish line of yesterday's stage) The 24-year-old of Acqua & Sapone team leads closest GC threats Daniele Contrini (Tinkoff) and Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) by 32 and 35 seconds respectively, with stage one winner Robbie McEwen in fifth at 57".

1522 CET - First updates from TIRRENO-ADRIATICO: we have got one man on a solo effort: Thierry Champion (Bouygues Telecom) broke clear early into the stage, and opened up a maximum advantage of about 14 minutes. The peloton started the chase, and gained a few minutes on the French, even if he's still holding on to a decent margin at the moment.

There was also an(other) pile-up in the Italian race, involving among others also Ivan Basso. The Italian was quickly back in the saddle, and all of his Discovery teammates waited for him and helped him regain the bunch. No major consequences for the 2006 Giro winner.

1529 CET - My apologies: the "rouleur" currently away at T-A is DIMITRY CHAMPION, and NOT Thierry Champion. He was leading the chasing field, led by Arekeev's Acqua & Sapone, by 05'15 at the latest, very recent update.

1538 CET - Tirreno update: solo "fuggitivo" Dimitri Champion completed the Macerata final circuit for the second time. The bell lap has just started: 23k to go for the Bouygues Telecoman, who has been away for 150 km so far. But for how long again? Now there's no comparison between his current pace (sloooow) and the one set by the pack (that's going faaaaaast).

1543 CET - Latest reports from TIRRENO roads say Ivan Basso and a few others got dropped from the main peloton. Did the small accident Ivan was caught in have a impact on his knee? Or is he just taking it easy in order to avoid excessive and likely self-damaging efforts? In the meantime the advantage of the young "Champion" from the French town of La Rochelle is dropping exponentially.

1552 CET - The peloton, currently driven by Quick Step, crossed a bridge at TIRRENO-ADRIATICO: it's just a matter of time before Champion, currently holding a 15-sec advantage, gets swallowed up by the first group. The "Ivan Basso group" trails them by close to two minutes. And such gap is going to grow further.

1555 CET - TIRRENO update: Dimitri Champion stayed clear for 164 km. (aka close to four hours) but was caught by the merciless (first) peloton. It's gruppo compatto in Italy, with about 10k to go. The last part of the stage in Italy is slightly uphill by the way, at least until 400m from the finish. Unlike Ivan Basso, Petacchi is still in the main bunch, and so are O'Grady, Bettini, Freire etc.

The TIRRENO stage finish is just 7k away, and the group largely together. But they're about to hit the 3-km final ascent there. So wait for the fireworks to start soon. And it looks Paolo Bettini might be a good starter on such a route finish.

1603 CET - 3K to go at TIRRENO. The climb started: the battle is about to break out. And it's Vinokourov that strikes first. Kessler counters his move for QuickStep. More riders rushing to the front. Riccó, Scarponi, Schumacher, Garzelli. Petacchi trying to hold on and not lose contact. Bettini sits in tenth wheel.

2k to go at TIRRENO - Freire gaining places on the front... Kessler was working for himself. He tried to make the gap but did not succeed. The peloton is still together enough. Even if Petacchi is having a very hard time there/

1607 CET - Now it's Scarponi and Riccò trying to get away with 1.5k to go, on quite steepy roads. Riccardo Ricco attacks, and drops Scarponi by his wheel. He's away. Solo.

1k to go for Saunier Duval's Italian Riccó, leading closest chasers by 50-60 metres. Enrico Gasparotto attacks and starts his own chase of the leader, but Boogerd and Freire are coming too.

1609 cet - 400m to go for Riccó. The climb is over. Will he do it? The Italian keeps a small gap on about 20 riders.
150 m for Riccó, 70m ... 50m ... HE'S DONE IT!! RICCARDO RICCO' (ITA - SAUNIER DUVAL) WINS THE STAGE!! Vinokourov wins the small bunch sprint for second place a few seconds back

Complete Stage Results (pdf file)
Full GC after Stage 3 (pdf file)
Points: Standings after Stage 3 (pdf file)
Mountains: Standings after Stage3 (pdf file)
Teams: GC after Stage 3 (pdf file)


42nd Tirreno-Adriatico: Preview
42nd Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1
42nd Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2

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