CAGLIARI, Sardinia (AP) — Fernando Gaviria won a bunch sprint at the end of the third stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday to claim his first Grand Tour victory and take the leader’s pink jersey from Andre Greipel.
Gaviria edged out Rudiger Selig after great work from his Quick-Step team inside the final 10 kilometers (6 miles) of a windy final leg in Sardinia before Monday’s rest day and the transfer to Sicily.
Giacomo Nizzolo was third at the end of the flat 148-kilometer (92-mile) route from Tortoli to Cagliari.
“It’s an enormous joy because of the work of the team,” Gaviria said. “We wanted a win before the rest day, we’ll enjoy it tomorrow. All the teams knew there would be crosswinds. We were spot on at the front and my teammates’ legs were very strong. They opened the gas. It’s a beautiful victory.
“I was feeling sorry for my teammates because my legs weren’t responding in the first two stage finishes. Now we have the win the team deserves.”
As strong winds hit the peloton, Gaviria’s teammate Bob Jungels was the one to break the field. There were six Quick-Step riders in the bunch which pulled away and they drove a hard tempo.
Greipel was near the front group but couldn’t close the gap, and then came out of his pedal.
He crossed the line 13 seconds behind Gaviria, in a group with most of the overall favorites including Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali.
Gaviria leads Greipel by nine seconds in the overall standings and the Colombian has a 13-second advantage over stage one winner Lukas Postlberger, who is third.
Tuesday’s fourth stage features the race’s first uphill finish on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, where Sicilian Nibali is keen to take the pink jersey and wear it the following day, which ends in his hometown of Messina.
The Giro ends on May 28 with a 28-kilometer (17.4 mile) individual time trial.