TERNI, Italy (AP) -Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway won the third stage of the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico race in a sprint finish Friday, while Matthew Goss of Australia held on to the overall lead.
It was the second consecutive victory for the British team Sky after world champion Mark Cavendish took Thursday’s stage. Boasson Hagen set up Cavendish’s win and the Briton didn’t dispute Friday’s sprint.
“We had control and then Cav was not feeling great so I did the sprint and the team did a really good job to put me in front,” said Boasson Hagen, who got his second victory of the season. “I had to do a very long sprint.”
Cavendish gained a two-second bonus by winning an intermediary sprint, making his absence at the finish surprising.
“I was supposed to be (Cavendish’s) leadout man but he wasn’t feeling so great, so it’s nice that I can win,” Boasson Hagen said.
Boasson Hagen clocked 4 hours, 45 minutes, 31 seconds over the 178-kilometer (110.6-mile) leg from Indicatore to Terni, which included a technical finish on cobblestones after a series of high-speed curves.
Andre Greipel of Germany crossed second and Peter Sagan of Slovakia was third, both with the same time as Boasson Hagen.
Crossing from Tuscany into Umbria, the stage included a small climb to Todi, 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) from the finish.
Filippo Savini, an Italian with the Colnago team, broke away from the pack at the start of the stage and at one point held an advantage of 11 minutes but was caught by the group with 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) to go.
Ramunas Navardauskas, a Lithuanian with Garmin, was forced to abandon the race and was taken away in an ambulance following a crash midway through the stage.
The fourth stage Saturday is a grueling 252-kilometer (156.6-mile) leg from Amelia to Chieti featuring three climbs, including an uphill finish, which will likely produce a new leader.
“I think tomorrow is a little bit too hard for me,” said Goss, who holds a three-second lead over GreenEdge teammate and fellow Australian Stuart O’Grady.
Goss took the lead when GreenEdge won the opening team time trial.
The race ends Tuesday with a 9.3-kilometer (5.78-mile) individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, on the Adriatic coast.
Many riders use the race as a warmup for the Milan-San Remo, the season’s opening single-day classic, on March 17.
Cavendish set himself up as the early favorite for San Remo with his victory Thursday, but he suggested Boasson Hagen could also be a contender.
“It was better for Boasson Hagen today,” said Cavendish, who won in San Remo in 2009. “The team is strong. It could be me or it could be him.”
R Soft Web Hosting