Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka continues to help animate the Giro d’Italia. On stage 3, Nathan Haas showed courage and tenacity as he finished fourth after trying to take the sprinters by surprise in Cagliari. Daniel Teklehaimanot had no problems keeping the KOM jersey.
On paper, today’s stage looked like an easy day for the peloton. With only 148 km to overcome and just one categorized climb, the terrain didn’t seem to difficult. However, as it turned out, the wind would play a huge role in the outcome of the race.
Early in the stage, a group of four riders broke away. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Kristian Sbaragli had planned to join the morning breakaway, eying the first intermediate sprint, and the fast Italian managed to do just that. Sbaragli won the sprint and got the 20 points before dropping back to the peloton. The three remaining riders in front worked well together but they didn’t stand a chance against the chasing peloton, which – accompanied by a strong tailwind – always kept the trio within reach. Ultimately, the breakaway was caught but while most teams were preparing for the expected bunch sprint, some had other ideas.
With 12 km to go, the peloton split up in the crosswind during a very exposed sector, which left only a dozen of riders at the front. Haas was quick to join the dangerous move, leaving him with a couple of the pre-stage favorites in a select group. Up against top sprinters like Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step-Floors) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo), Haas tried to anticipate the sprint with a late attack on the last kilometer. Unfortunately, it didn’t stick but the 28-year-old Australian still managed to hold on to fourth place, giving Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka a Top10 spot for the third day in a row. Gaviria took the win and the leader’s jersey, while Ryan Gibbons crossed the line in 14th place, just 13 seconds down. He’s now eight in the general classification. Teklehaimanot enjoyed his historic day in the blue mountain jersey, which he will wear again on Tuesday when the race continues after Monday’s rest day in Sicily.
“The team did an excellent job today. I knew it would be completely exposed after that roundabout with 12 km to go so I thought I’d better be at the front in case anybody jumped – and that’s what I did. In the final, I went early, hoping that the cobblestones would play in my favor. Sometimes when you get a gap on the cobbles, no one can come around but unfortunately, they came around this time. However, there are still a few stages to come, which suit me even better than this one. I’m definitely not done fighting”.