He did it at last! After being second to Emanuele Sella in the two previous stages, reigining champion Marco Marzano of Ceramiche Pagnoncelli finally managed to secure a stage victory, as he was first across the line at the end of the third leg of the 40th “Giro della Val d’Aosta”, a 118–km. ride from Landry (France), to Valgrisenche (Italy), encompassing the gruelling Piccolo San Bernardo ascent, the highest mountain the contest, peaking at 2180m ASL and coming halfway through the ride, and also a mountain top finish. As the race hit Italian soil, Marzano succeeded in leaving Sella behind: the two-time stage victor this time came in second, at about one and a half minute from the winner.
Earlier in the stage, a breakaway group of 8 formed, also containing super-combative Stefano Boggia (Ita – Olio Vezza Brunero), who even rode away from the rest of the leaders on the Piccolo San Bernando descent and put up to 45” into them, and 01’45” into the main peloton. But both the Italian and all other 7 escapees were later brought back by the main bunch.
And as expected, as soon as the final ascent into Valgrisenche began, the “Sella & Marzano Show” started, with the main protagonists of the first two days breaking away again. But things took a different turn than in previous stages: although it was Sella who – after 2 kilometres - tried to drop Marzano, the latter countered his rival’s move and then launched his own attack. The efforts bore fruit as the Zalf Desirée Fior, number one rider in Tuesday and Wednesday’s stage rankings, couldn’t follow this time.
Marzano’s 8-km. solo ride ended in a great success, and consequently the man strenghtened his position atop the GC; the 2002 (and probably 2003 too) overall winner of the North italian contest is now leading his main challenger by 01’30”, while Marzano’s Swiss teammate Oliver Zugg, who couldn’t hit the stage podium this time, but retained his third place overall, is trailing almost five minutes behind. Another “orange warrior” of Ceramiche Pagnoncelli, 23-year-old Paolo Bailetti, one of the main protagonists of the past “Baby Giro” (he lost to Lithuania’s Kairelis by three seconds only) , took fifth in the stage and hit the Top 5 places in the Overall Standings too.
Friday’s fourth stage covers 126.6 Kilometres between Arvier and Montjovet
Stage 3 (Landry-Valgrisenche, 118.3 km.) – Top 10 Places:
1. Marco Marzano (Ita - SC Ceramiche Pagnoncelli) - 03h35'49" (31.832 km/h)
2. Emanuele Sella (Ita – GS Zalf Desirée Fior) - at 01'29"
3. Simone Roveyaz (Ita - Roeder 1956) - at 02'25"
4. Alberto Milani (Ita - Città del Ciclismo) - s.t.
5. Paolo Bailetti (Ita – SC Ceramiche Pagnoncelli) - at 03'11"
6. Maurizio Varini (Ita - Dellese Feralpi) - s.t.
7. Oliver Zaugg (Swi – GS Zalf Desirée Fior) - s.t.
8. Vladimir Efimkim (Rus - Dellese Feralpi) - at 03'25"
9. Kiril Goloubev (Ukr - Promociclo) - at 03'30"
10. Micula De Matteis (Ita – GS Bottoli Artoni) - at 03'36"
GC after Stage 3 – Top 10 Places:
1. Marco Marzano (Ita - SC Ceramiche Pagnoncelli)
2. Emanuele Sella (Ita – GS Zalf Desirée Fior) - at 01'30"
3. Oliver Zaugg (Swi – GS Zalf Desirée Fior) - at 04'39"
4. Alberto Milani (Ita - Città del Ciclismo) - at 05'31"
5. Paolo Bailetti (Ita – SC Ceramiche Pagnoncelli) - at 05'42"
6. Maurizio Varini (Ita – Dellese Feralpi) - at 05'46
7. Simone Roveyaz (Ita - Roeder 1956) - at 05'59"
8. Vladimir Efimkim (Rus - Dellese Feralpi) - at 06'46"
9. Giancarlo Ginestri (Ita – GS Zalf Desirée Fior) - at 07'01"
10. Hubert Dupont (Fra – VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 07'15"