After the "Damiano Cunego Show" in the past two days, today it was the turn of Spain to go for some glory on the roads of Trentino: Andalusian Juan Miguel Mercado of Quick Step-Davitamon got a solo win in the third stage of the Italian event, taking the win by a 25-second margin over Italy's Giuseppe Muraglia.
The stage got underway at Roncone Breguzzo and finished into the town of Fiavé, home to the Formaggi Pinzolo team, that came close to get a long-awaited "home win", but in the end had to be content with Muraglia's second place finish. The squad from Trentino has showed a great fighting attitude throughout this race, today's continuous attacks by Muraglia (that missed the good one anyway) included, but without luck (and probably also experience) on their side, such that in spite of their efforts neither the Italian nor teammate Jure Golcer could get the stage victory they are hungry for.
The Slovene also remains 49 seconds behind Damiano Cunego in the Genral Classification. After dominating the first two legs, the young Saecoman finished comfortably in the bunch on Thursday and retained his advantage over his closest challengers. The man from verona is just one stage away from the biggest victory to date in his professional career. Thursday's only news in the Top 10 Places came from stage winner Mercado, who earned 10 bonus seconds and stormed into eighth overall, while Britain's Jamie Burrow is currently outside the Top 20 spots.
Thursday's journey into Fiavé began at 10h38 AM local time, with Breguzzo's mayor Ilda Frioli as official starter and, as anticipated by the Daily Peloton in yesterday's Stage 2 report, Saeco's unfit rider Leonardo Bertagnolli not at the startline. Fellow Italian Andrea Masciarelli as well as Switzerland's Patrick Calcagni, both of the Vini Caldirola team, were other non-starters, while Team ICET's sprinter Moreno Di Biase pulled out of the race at km. 52.
But five km. later, the "break of the day" formed, with 16 guys riding away from the field: the names were: Mercado, Muraglia and Trentino's very own Mariano Piccoli (Lampre), plus his Spanish teammate Juan Manuel Garate, Italians Michele Gobbi and Graziano Gasparre (De Nardi), Luca Solari (Team Barloworld-Androni G.), Gianluca Sironi (Vini Caldirola) and Elio Aggiano (Team LPR-Piacenza Management) as well as Aggiano's Russian teammate Dmitri "Dima" Konyshev, fellow East-Europeans Dmitri Gaynitdinov (Rus - Team ICET), Bartosz Huzarski (Pol - Action Ati), Ondrej Sosenka (Cze - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo), and Aliaksandar Kuchynski (Belarusian winner of the recent Giro d'Abruzzo). The breakaway group was completed by Saecoman Juan Fuentes of Spain, and Colombian Luis Felipe Laverde Jiménez of Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé.
The break opened a gap of 01'05" by km. 69, and a couple kilometres later Panaria's Latin Americans Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (Mex) and Alejandro Borrajo (Arg) distanced themelseves from the bunch and formed a two-man chase that turned a trio as they were joined by young Italian Maurizio Carta (Miche) at km. 78. They were 01'42" down to the leaders, with the rest of the field a further dozen seconds behind.
Then the pack hit Val dei Laghi ("Valley of the Lakes") and Valle di Cavedine, and tackled the first ascent of the day, Passo Uldarico (km. 113, 606m asl), where Elio Aggiano, who's far from being a pure climber, won the Prime and strengthened his position atop the KOM Classification. La Verde was second and Gaynitdinov third. In the meantime the leading bunch had extended their advantage over the field (that brought the three aforementioned pursuers down) to 03'15".
The gap didn't change much in the next kilometres: at the Pietramurata Hot Spot Sprint (Km 128), won by Gasparre from Juan Manuel "Iron Man from Irún" Garate, it was still a good 2’50”. Super-Mercado tested his legs by forcing the pace on the following climb (Valli Giudicarie), though the only victim of this acceleration was Michele Gobbi, who got dropped, such that with 25k to go, there was still 15 riders up front, maintaining an advantage of 02'50".
Nine kilometres later, they reached the finish line at Fiavé for the first time, and Muraglia launched (one of) his attack(s), followed by Mercado and Solari. The trio put a few seconds into the rest, but was soon reeled in. Such that it was Garate that won the KOM Prime at Cavrasto (km. 153, 732m asl), with Muraglia taking second ahead of 23-year-old Huzarski, at his third season in the pro ranks. The main bunch, containing Cunego and the other top contenders (that's why the Saecos didn't waste too many time in trying to chase today's escapees) came in 02’25” behind.
The front bunch split again with 9 km. from the line, with just six riders remaining at the front: Garate, Mercado, Solari, Muraglia, Huzarski and Kychinski. La Verde was twelve seconds back, Gasparre and Sosenka were trailing by 18", and the rest was further behind. The ultimate part of the stage was marked by lots of attacks and counter-attacks, and especially by Mercado's wicked and decisive attack with just 3k to go. He quickly opened a gap of 28" on his closest chasers, and saved most of it in the uphill (gradient up to 7%) final kilometre, thus making his team bosses happy, and Formaggi Pinzolo's Manager Giuliani very upset at Muraglia and his tactical naiveté ("Giuseppe attacked fourty times, but missed the right move with three km. from the line" were Giuliani's words).
Tomorrow's final stage, that should give Saeco a second straight GC win in this race, after Simoni's triumph in 2003, covers 168.8 km. between Terme di Comano (Dolomiti Brenta) and Arco, with the only Hot Spot Sprint at Cembre (km. 53.1) and the Second Category KOM Prime at Vigolo Vattaro (km. 92.8).
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Stage 3 (Roncone Breguzzo-Fiave, 165 km.) - Top Places
1. Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa - Quick Step-Davitamon) - 03h54’13" (42.268 kph)
2. Giuseppe Muraglia (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo-Fiavé) - at 25"
3. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol - Action Ati) - at 34"
4. Aliaksandar Kuchynski (Bie -Amore & Vita-Beretta ) - at 46"
5. Luca Solari (Ita - Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli) -s .t.
6. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa - Lampre) - at 49"
7. Ondrej Sosenka (Cze - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) - at 59"
8. Graziano Gasparre (Ita - De Nardi) - at 01’22"
9. Felipe Laverde (Col - Formaggi Pinzolo-Fiavé) - at 01’24"
10. Mykhaylo Khalilov (Ukr - Team ICET) - at 01’27"
11. Laurent Dufaux (Swi - Quick Step-Davitamon) - at 01'27"
12. Giuliano Figueras (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - at 01'27"
13. Igor Pugaci (Mol - De Nardi) - at 01'27"
14. Luca Mazzanti (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - at 01'27"
15. Damiano Cunego (Ita - Saeco) - at 01'27"
16. Slawomir Kohut (Pol - Hop CCC-Polsat TV) - at 01'27"
17. Piotr Chmielewski (Pol - Action Ati) - at 01'27"
18. Radoslaw Romanik (Pol - Hop CCC-Polsat TV) - at 01'27"
19. Jure Golcer (Slo - ormaggi Pinzolo-Fiavé) - at 01'27"
20. Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita - ormaggi Pinzolo-Fiavé) - at 01'27"
21. Gilberto Simoni (Ita - Saeco) - at 01'27"
Click here for complete Stage Results.
28th Giro del Trentino: GC after Stage 3 - Top Places
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita - Saeco) - 13h35'05"
2. Jure Golcer (Slo - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé) - at 49"
3. Gilberto Simoni (Ita - Saeco) - at 53"
4. Giuliano Figueras (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - at 55"
5. Pavel Tonkov (Rus - Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie) - at 01'06"
6. Gerard Trampusch (Aut - Acqua & Sapone-C.Mokambo) - at 01'25"
7. Luca Mazzanti (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - at 02'55"
8. Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa - Quick Step-Davitamon) - at 03'02"
9. Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé) - at 03'08"
10. Kyrylo Pospeyev (Ukr - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) - at 03'10"
11. Laurent Dufaux (Swi - Quick Step-Davitamon) - at 03'18"
12. Emanuele Sella (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - at 03'25"
13. Igor Pugaci (Mol - De Nardi) - at 03'26"
14. Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA - Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli) - at 03'28"
15. Radoslaw Romanik (Pol - Hoop CCC-Polsat TV) - at 03'33"
16. Tomasz Brozyna (Pol - Action Nati) - at 03'33"
17. Giuseppe Muraglia (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo-Fiavé) - at 03'37"
18. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa - Lampre) - at 03'38"
19. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol - Miche) - at 03'40"
20. Serhyi Honchar (Ukr - De Nardi) - at 04'10"
21. Jamie Burrow (GBR - Amore & Vita Beretta) - at 04'19"
Click here for the full GC after Stage 3.
Hot Spot Sprints - GC after Stage 3
1. Graziano Gasparre (Ita - De Nardi) - 16 points
2. Domenico Gualdi (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé) - 6 points
3. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa - Lampre) - 4 points
4. Renzo Mazzoleni (Ita - Tenax) - 4 points
5. Aitor Gutiérrez Hernández (Spa - Team LPR-Piacenza) - 4 points
6. Elio Aggiano (Ita - Team LPR-Piacenza) - 2 points
Mountains - GC after Stage 3
1. Elio Aggiano (Ita - Team LPR-Piacenza) - 16 points
2. Damiano Cunego (Slo - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé) - 10 points
3. Aitor Gutiérrez Hernández (Spa - Team LPR-Piacenza) - 8 points
4. Jure Golcer (Slo - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé) - 6 points
5. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa - Lampre) - 4 points
6. Gilberto Simoni (Ita - Saeco) - 4 points
7. Giuliano Figueras (Ita - Panaria-Margres) - 4 points
8. Giuseppe Muraglia (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé) - 2 points
9. Luis Felipe Laverde (Col - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé) - 2 points
10. Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) - 2 points
11. Graziano Gasparre (Ita - De Nardi) - 2 points
12. Renzo Mazzoleni (Ita - Tenax) - 1 point
13. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol - Action Ati) - 1 point
14. Dmitri Gaynitdinov (Rus - Team ICET) - 1 point
Teams - Stage 3 Results
1. Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave' - 11h45'55"
2. Action Ati - at 12”
3. Quick Step-Davitamon - at 14”
4. Acqua & Sapone-Caffe' Mokambo - at 37”
5. Team Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli - at 39”
6. De Nardi - at 01'00”
7. Ceramiche Panaria-Margres - at 01'11”
8. Hoop CCC-Polsat Tv - at 01'11”
9. Saeco - at 01'16”
10. Tenax - at 02'07”
11. Amore & Vita-Beretta - at 02'57”
12. Lampre - at 03'00”
13. Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie - at 03'06”
14. Team Icet - at 04'02”
15. Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management - at 11'25”
16. Miche - at 17'35”
17. Elk Haus Radteam Sportunion Sch - at 28'24”
Teams - GC after Stage 3
1. Saeco - 40h51'09”
2. Ceramiche Panaria-Margres - at 15”
3. Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave' - at 01'49”
4. Acqua & Sapone-Caffe' Mokambo - at 02'39”
5. Hoop CCC-Polsat Tv - at 10'08”
6. Action Ati - at 10'17”
7. Quick Step-Davitamon - at 10'24”
8. De Nardi - at 11'21”
9. Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie - at 16'44”
10. Lampre - at 18'31”
11. Team Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli. - at 21'23”
12. Tenax - at 22'49”
13. Team Icet - at 26'36”
14. Amore & Vita-Beretta - at 47'29”
15. Miche - at 53'48”
16. Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management - at 01h03'48”
17. Elk Haus Radteam Sportunion Sch - at 01h23'06”