“I just came to the Giro to have fun and enjoy riding my bike.”
That was winner Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) at the finish of stage three in the Giro d’Italia. He bested Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) and Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) in an exhausting uphill sprint that looked as painful as it no doubt felt.
Yes, Matthew had plenty of fun in what became a wet, stressful day with the climbs of the Valico del Laghi di Monticchio and Valico La Croce causing more damage than expected. Printers and GC men suffered with Brandon McNulty (UAE) in particular falling off the pace.
From the start, Matthews’ teammates put in a concerted and well-drilled effort, with what seemed like the entire squad going all-in. When his chief rival Pedersen was dropped, they went even harder. Their efforts also spit Magnus Cort (EF Education) out the back, removing another challenger from the mix.
Pedersen would impress by fighting his way back on but the energy he was forced to expend would equal the margin of his loss at the finish. He closed on Matthew but the legs didn’t quite have the power needed in the last 300 meters when the grade hit 5%..
Matthews arrived at this Giro d’Italia simply hoping for a good ride and decent luck. “It’s been such a roller coaster this year,” he said. “To come back with a victory for the team — they were fully committed to me. I knew I needed to go a bit early. That was for the boys.”
There were actually two contested sprints on stage three. The battle for bonus seconds pitted the maglia rosa of Remo Evenepoel (Soudal Quickstep) again Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma). The Slovenian attempted to take back seconds but it was Evenepoel who crossed first, adding a whopping one second to his 43 advantage. Chapeau Remco.
It’s been eight long years since Michael Matthews won his last Giro stage. It took a while but Bling finally did his thing.
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