Edoardo Zardini continued a very good race for Bardiani-CSF with a win on the Queen Stage. The young Veronesi takes over the GC lead, while Michał Kwiatowski was the best of the rest nine seconds back.
Mark McNally was out in the breakaway again, but he was beaten at every mountain sprint by Tinkoff-Saxo’s Manuele Boaro, who made it into the break after spending yesterday fruitlessly chasing it. Boaro was the last man standing but was swept up by the peloton before the final climb started.
The first bid for stage victory came from Garmin’s Jack Bauer, who struck out alone 4km from the line. Zardini joined him soon after and did all the pacemaking as the New Zealander struggled to keep up.
The Italian promptly dropped Bauer on the steepest part of the climb but soon had more company in the form of Nicolas Roche. The Irishman was churning a big gear and managed to pull out a gap but under the flamme rouge Zardini was back with him.
As Zardini made his final bid for victory, Sky leader Bradley Wiggins was struggling and had to be paced back to the lead group by David Lopez. He recovered to take fifth on the day and is still in with a chance of overall victory. IAM’s leader Sylvain Chavanel has a harder task ahead after he lost 32 seconds.
Good day for
Bardiani-CSF – Victory on the Queen stage for the Italian squad
Michał Kwiatowski – Best of the big favourites
Bad day for
Sylvain Chavanel – Surprisingly lost over half a minute on The Tumble
|1||Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF||4:35:02|
|2||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep||0:00:09|
|3||Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:00:11|
|4||Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team|
|5||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky||0:00:14|
|6||Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team|
|7||David Lopez Garcia (Esp) Team Sky|
|8||Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling||0:00:16|
|9||Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar Team|
|10||Leopold König (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura|
|11||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling||0:00:32|
|1||Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF||11:30:21|
|2||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep||0:00:13|
|3||Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:00:17|
|4||Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team||0:00:21|
|5||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky||0:00:24|
|6||David Lopez Garcia (Esp) Team Sky|
|7||Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar Team||0:00:26|
|8||Leopold König (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura|
|9||Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling|
|10||Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team||0:00:37|
|11||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling||0:00:42|
For full results and standings look here.
Stage 4: Worcester – Bristol (184.6km)
The race heads back to England for its second uphill finish. Its nowhere near as tough as The Tumble, but the Ardennes-style second category climb will still provide a challenging finish for the peloton.
There are a couple of categorised climbs earlier in the day, including a second category climb just 14km from the start, so the fight to get in the breakaway will be very keenly contested. Bizarrely the two bizarrely hills in the second half of the stage are uncategorised.
Look out for the Clifton Suspension Bridge near the finish – one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s greatest creations, its 150 years old this year.
The final climb is on the Bridge Valley Road. Its a short blast of just under a kilometre, but the 9% sections will no doubt provide a chance for attacks. Whoever gets away on the climb has two kilometres of flatter road to contend with on the twisting run-in to the finish.
Who will win?
We saw in Llandudno that some of the sprinters could make it over a hill near the finish, but I have a feeling that we could see a late attack stay away tomorrow. A strong breakaway staying away is also a possibility.
Michał Kwiatkowski lies second in GC and will be taking every opportunity he can to overhaul Enrico Zardini. His sprinting ability means he’s the favourite. I’m not sure that Mark Renshaw can make it over the climb but he’s in good form. Sky’s Ben Swift will be able to though, and he should figure in the sprint.
Movistar came with the strongest team in the race but they haven’t showed that so far. Giovanni Visconti and Ion Izagirre both have a good shot at the win tomorrow. The Spaniard looks a better bet to finish high up on GC though, so he will be their main man. Sylvain Chavanel is another who needs to make up time wherever he can.
An outsider for the win is NFTO’s Adam Blythe. The Brit has just confirmed his return to the WorldTour with a two-year contract at GreenEdge. He likes to attack and has a good sprint as we saw in the RideLondon Classic. Bardiani-CSF are looking good so far and should have someone present at the finish.
**** Michal Kwiatkowski
*** Ben Swift
** Giovanni Visconti/Ion Izagirre
* Sylvain Chavanel, Adam Blythe, Bardiani-CSF