Geraint Thomas lost more than 11 minutes as Ecuadorian Jonathan Caicedo won the Giro d’Italia’s first summit finish atop Mount Etna on Monday. Former Tour de France champion Thomas seemed to recover despite falling off his bike before the day’s racing even started, which caused the peloton to be neutralized, but failed to keep up with the peloton with less than 30 kilometers to go.
Portugal’s Joao Almeida took the overall leader’s pink jersey from Thomas’ Ineos team-mate Filippo Ganna as Italian Giovanni Visconti finished second with Belgian Harm Vanhoucke in third.
“In the end it was just a sufferfest until the finish. I knew I could take the lead in the final 3km I was feeling good, I would never expect to be in this position and I’m really happy with this,” 22-year-old Almeida said.
Thomas came off his bike in the approach to the official start line and the incident ripped his Ineos jersey and he had a scar on his left shoulder. Despite the early slip up the damage to his ‘Maglia Rosa’ hopes came with 28km left as Thomas and Ganna dropped back from the back of the peloton as the Welshman slowed down just before an early climb approaching Etna.
One of Thomas’ overall rivals, 2018 Vuelta a Espana champion Simon Yates, was also dropped by the peloton as the Mitchelton-Scott failed to keep up with nine kilometers to go and trails Almeida by 3:46.
Thomas is racing in this year’s Giro after being omitted from Ineos’ lineup for the Tour, won by UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar in September.
Giovanni Visconti, Victor Campenaerts and Lawson Craddock were part of an early breakaway within the opening 10km.
Less than 20km later Caicedo, 27, joined the breakaway along with Mikkel Bjerg and Matthew Holmes and stayed in the eight-man group despite the rain on the flat roads ahead of the climbing.
As the peloton slowly ate into the break’s lead Thomas slipped away and kept falling behind before finishing 12:19 behind Caicedo. Visconti, Caicedo and Bjerg then split ahead with 12.5km to go and held a 2:30 lead over the peloton.
Three kilometers later it was Yates’ turn to drop back on the testing ascent.
Caicedo broke free with less than two kilometers to go as Visconti failed to stick with him as Almeida crossed in 11th place which was enough to take his first ever Grand Tour leader’s jersey in his first appearances in a three-week race.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2020 STAGE 3 RESULTS
|1||CAICEDO Jonathan Klever||EF Pro Cycling||4:02:33|
|2||VISCONTI Giovanni||Vini Zabù – KTM||0:21|
|3||VANHOUCKE Harm||Lotto Soudal||0:30|
|4||KELDERMAN Wilco||Team Sunweb||0:39|
|5||FUGLSANG Jakob||Astana Pro Team||0:51|
|6||MAJKA Rafał||BORA – hansgrohe||,,|
|7||NIBALI Vincenzo||Trek – Segafredo||,,|
|8||CASTROVIEJO Jonathan||INEOS Grenadiers||,,|
|9||POZZOVIVO Domenico||NTT Pro Cycling||,,|
|10||KRUIJSWIJK Steven||Team Jumbo-Visma||0:56|
|1||ALMEIDA João||Deceuninck – Quick Step||7:44:25|
|2||CAICEDO Jonathan Klever||EF Pro Cycling||,,|
|3||BILBAO Pello||Bahrain – McLaren||0:37|
|4||KELDERMAN Wilco||Team Sunweb||0:42|
|5||VANHOUCKE Harm||Lotto Soudal||0:53|
|6||NIBALI Vincenzo||Trek – Segafredo||0:55|
|7||POZZOVIVO Domenico||NTT Pro Cycling||0:59|
|8||MCNULTY Brandon||UAE-Team Emirates||1:11|
|9||FUGLSANG Jakob||Astana Pro Team||1:13|
|10||KRUIJSWIJK Steven||Team Jumbo-Visma||1:15|
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini