Matthews returns to victory, Evenepoel grabs


By Le Figaro with AFP Posted 17 minutes ago The rider from Jayco-Alula won the…

Matthews returns to victory, Evenepoel grabs

Matthews returns to victory, Evenepoel grabs

By Le Figaro with AFP

17 minutes ago

The rider from Jayco-Alula won the sprint ahead of Dane Mads Pedersen and his compatriot Kaden Groves. LUCA BETTINI / AFP

Australian Michael Matthews won the third stage of the Tour of Italy in a sprint. The Belgian Remco Evenepoel retains the pink leader’s jersey and even grabs a bonus second.

Eight years later, Australian Michael Matthews returned to victory in the Tour of Italy by winning the third stage on Monday in which Remco Evenepoel grabbed a second on his rival Primoz Roglic. In this 216 km long transition stage between Vasto and Melfi, the Jayco-Alula rider won in the sprint ahead of Dane Mads Pedersen and his compatriot Kaden Groves.

The three men had managed to stay in the first group of the peloton after the two climbs of the day, placed about thirty kilometers from the finish, unlike other “big thighs» as the Briton Mark Cavendish, dropped. For Matthews, 32, this is the tenth stage victory in a Grand Tour. He has won everywhere, four times at the Tour de France, three times at the Vuelta and now as many at the Giro, eight years after his last success on Italian roads, in 2015.

“I have no words, these last three months have been difficult. So winning a stage is exceptional, it’s more than I could have imagined“, underlined the Australian veteran, who validated the enormous work of his team during this day when the rain made its appearance for the first time.

The leaders of the general cl***ification have, as expected, spent a quiet day, like Remco Evenepoel, once again very relaxed. But, after being offered… an egg by the Astana riders shortly after the start, the Belgian suddenly emerged from his box to win the last intermediate sprint and pocket three bonus seconds, against two for Roglic, in its wheel. “I wanted to be in front because of the rain and not let Primoz do the bonuses alone. It didn’t cost me much energy, it’s always good to take, especially after such an easy day“, he commented.

Pinot takes the blue jersey

In the general cl***ification, the world champion now has a lead of 32 seconds over the Portuguese Joao Almeida and 44 over his Slovenian rival, third. Filippo Ganna and Brandon McNulty disappear from the Top 10. During a long boring stage, a first selection was made in the two successive climbs of Monticchio (6.3 km at 6.4% average) and Valico La Croce (2.6 km at 7.6%), about thirty kilometers from the goal.

This is where Thibaut Pinot showed himself for the first time in this Giro. The Frenchman, far behind in the prologue and who lost another 19 seconds in a break on Sunday, went for the mountain points by sprinting to the top of the day’s two difficulties to put on the blue jersey for best climber. He succeeds another Frenchman, Paul Lapeira, who wore him on Monday.

Tuesday, starting from Venosa, the road will rise for a medium mountain stage comprising three p***es at more than 1,000 meters above sea level, including the arrival at the summit at Lago Laceno, after a climb of 9.6 km at 6.2% average. This is the stage targeted by Remco Evenepoel to let go of the leader’s pink jersey thanks to a breakaway, so as not to waste too much energy defending it. But if it does not go as planned, it will not matter, has already announced the Belgian who considers his team strong enough to support the weight of the race.

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