PERUGIA, Italy (VN) — Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank-Sunguard) overcame a final-kilometer acceleration from Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) to steal a win in stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico. Hushovd’s teammate and overall leader Tyler Farrar finished second, followed by Italian Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale).
Farrar earned a seven-second time bonus in the finale and maintained his overall lead for the second night.
Haedo called the win the second biggest of his career, behind stage 2 in the Criterium du Dauphine in 2010. “It’s like winning a stage in the Tour de France pretty much, with all of the sprinters. It’s not the Tour, but the quality of riders is like any bike race in the world,” said Haedo. “A lot of people thought Saxo Bank was over after the big guys left, but I think that we’re going to be up there fighting for wins.”
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) again had trouble in the sprint, sitting up in the final 500 meters and finishing on same time, but in 90th position. The pre-race sprint favorite did not stop for comment outside the team bus following his second distant finish in as many days.
Hushovd surged to the point of the strung out peloton 500 meters from the line, Farrar tucked on his wheel. When he aced a gentle right hand corner 250 meters from the line, the world champion gapped Farrar by almost two bike lengths. Farrar said that was the difference.
“I had to make that effort to come back in the wheel and that cost me in the final meters in the sprint,” he said. “Thor gave me another perfect leadout, but J.J. was just a little too fast for me today in the final 50 meters.”
After Garmin and Leopard-Trek did much of the work to reel in solo escapee Daniel Sesma (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 31km from the finish, Saxo Bank was among the teams trading control as a number of riders took flyers in the hilly arrival to Perugia. The peloton arrived to town groupo compacto before Hushovd wrestled control from Haedo’s squad.
Haedo’s close friend Armando Borrajo, brother to American-based riders Alejandro and Anibal of Jamis-Sutter Home, died in a tragic suicide following a kidnapping in their native Argentina. Haedo said after the stage that his thoughts were with his close friends.
“It’s really hard to talk at the moment about that,” he said. “They’re always going to be there; they’re part of my family as well.”
Forget Cav, Freire?
Friday’s was the final sprint test before Milan-San Remo and Farrar and Haedo both said it would be silly to count Cavendish and Rabobank’s Oscar Freire out for the season’s first monument.
“Just because somebody’s not in the running in the sprints here, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the running in San Remo,” said Farrar. “Some riders use this race to chase results, others purely as training.”
- Cavendish lost firepower when his HTC teammate and Kiwi champion Hayden Roulston did not start due to illness.
Other than intermediate points, the sprinters are done for this tour. Saturday’s fourth stage is the first of two back-to-back 240km days in the mountains. The 990-meter Sella Di Corno and 757-meter Poggio Picenze face riders in the first half of the race and a hilly approach to Chieti delivers riders near the Adriatic coast. The stage, which starts in scenic Narni (home to Roman emperor Nerva) is tailor-made for the powerful opportunists and will provide the first glimpse of the final GC battle.
- 1. Juan José Haedo (ARG), Saxo Bank, 4:39:45
- 2. Tyler Farrar (USA), Garmin-Cervelo, s.t.
- 3. Daniel Oss (ITA), Liquigas-Cannondale, s.t.
- 4. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Lampre, s.t.
- 5. Mark Renshaw (AUS), HTC-Highroad, s.t.
Overall, after Stage 3
- 1. Tyler Farrar (USA), Garmin-Cervelo, 9:53:51
- 2. Juan José Haedo (ARG), Saxo Bank, at 0:05
- 3. Lars Boom (NED), Rabobank, at 0:06
- 4. Oscar Freire Gomez (ESP), Rabobank, at 0:08
- 5. Thomas Leezer (NED), Rabobank, at 0:08