Stage 3: Horsens – Horsens 190km

Giro d’Italia 3: Goss wins crash-marred sprint in Horsens

Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) wins stage 3 of the 2012 Giro d’Italia (AFP)

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Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) won a crash-marred stage 3 of the Giro
d’Italia ahead of Juan Jose Heado (Saxo Bank) and Tyler Farrar
(Garmin-Barracuda). The Australian was ahead of a major spill that took down
stage 2 winner Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) and maglia rosa Taylor Phinney (BMC

The Orica-GreenEdge team were the most dominant and well-disciplined squad
in the final kilometres of the race, only surging to the front inside the final
two kilometres, to deliver Goss to his first win of the season and Orica’s
first Grand Tour stage win.”I guess it was a bit of really fast
sprint,” a delighted Goss said at the finish. “We went uphill with
about a kilometre to go, and then it was downhill and very fast to the finish.
I had two guys who delivered me to the last 300 metres, but I think there was a
bit of carnage behind.

“It’s my second Giro stage win. It’s great to win here in a pure bunch
sprint. I’m very happy for the team. There were a lot corners in the finale,
that always strings the bunch out but I had a great team.”

Goss’s improvement from second place in stage two was a sharp contrast to
Cavendish, who after picking up yesterday’s win was left to scrape himself off
the tarmac today. In truth the world champion’s problems started long before
the final challenge for the line.

At this stage in the race so many teams and riders are nervous – all
competing for the thin strips or road, the tiniest gaps between wheels, and all
fresh enough to think they can win. The likes of Sky, GreenEdge and Garmin
Barracuda have honed their leadout trains but a number of riders are fresh
enough to immerse themselves in the sprints. With two kilometres remaining
Cavendish found himself isolated from his leadout. Peter Kennaugh led the bunch
before swinging off for Geraint Thomas. However the Welshman, seeing that
Cavendish was further back, sat up.

By now GreenEdge were in full control, as Goss’s rivals fought tooth and
nail to secure the Australian’s rear wheel. Cavendish at first positioned
himself behind former teammate Mark Renshaw but as the line approached he
looked to move forward. He was too far back to rival Goss and needed to launch
his move earlier than usual but as he began to wind up his speed Robert Ferrari
moved from his line, swiping Cavendish’s front wheel from under him.

With Goss ahead by a clear set of wheels, Haedo and Farrar were sprinting
for the minor places, while Cavendish and Phinney sat up and observed their
injuries. Cavendish was on his feet soon enough but the maglia rosa stayed down
longer. After a brief spell in an ambulance, Phinney emerged and made his way
to the podium to accept his third pink jersey. “I’m better now,”
Phinney said. “When I was on the ground I was a bit confused and in a
state of shock, but I started to feel better when I was in the ambulance.

“I must have hit something when I fell. It’s a pity that it happened
and hopefully it’s nothing important. It’s lucky tomorrow is a rest day.”

Wouter gone but not forgotten

Wouter Weylandt’s death in last year’s Giro d’Italia is still a memory that
touches all who hold cycling dear but on the start line in Horsens the Belgian
was honoured by his former colleagues and the organisers of the Giro. Weylandt
crashed and died during stage 3 of last year’s race and it was his former
teammates from Leopard-Trek (now RadioShack-Nissan) as well was his friend
Tyler Farrar who led the tributes.

A minute’s silence was religiously observed with race organiser Michele
Acquarone giving an emotional speech in the presence of Weylandt’s family.
Respects were also paid to Horsens mayor Jan Trøjborg, who had worked
tirelessly to bring the Giro to Denmark, only to pass away yesterday, suffering
from a heart attack during a bike ride.

The early action

Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda), Reto Hollenstein (Team NetApp),
Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM),
Mads Christensen (Saxo Bank) and Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) were able
to forge a gap. However the sprinters’ teams, along with BMC never allowed the
breakaway to gain much more than 3 minutes.

Ramus Navardauskas was just 22 seconds down on Phinney in the GC, and a
realistic shout for pink with stage 4 team time trial ahead and as the race
headed onto the three laps of a 14.3km finishing circuit, the gap was begging
to plummet.

With 36 kilometres remaining the break were just 56 seconds clear.
Christensen was keen on giving the home fans some cheer and jumped clear. The
remnants of the break duly sat up before the Saxo Bank rider followed suit.

Lars Bak, attacked in a repeat of yesterday’s tactic, leading the race on
the final lap but with 11 kilometres to race the bunch were back together. The
scenario was set for a battle royal with Cavendish, Goss, Renshaw, Farrar,
Haedo, and Arnaud Demare all positioning themselves for the sprint.

As the Sky train derailed, Orica-GreenEdge seized control, delivering Goss
to his second career Giro stage, but behind, Androni’s Roberto Ferrari made a
sudden dash to his right, sweeping Cavendish’s front wheel and causing a
chain-reaction pile-up. The Italian was relegated to last place for irregular