Talansky Wins Stage 3 of 2013 Paris-Nice; Leads Race
Davide Malacarne (Europcar) finished second, and Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took third.
The riders fought out the stage in the rain. At three km, Martin Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM), Sebastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Mads Christensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), and Alexis Vuillermoz (Sojasun) salled off of the front. The bunch kept the break on a short leash, and the escapees never got much more than 4:00 ahead of the field. Cannondale chased on behalf of yellow jersey Elia Viviani, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step joined in the chase. With 22 km left, the peloton reeled in the fugitives just short of the day's last climb, the Category 2 Cote de Mauvagnat.
Sky led the field up the climb, and the pacemaking was too much for Viviani, who lost contact with the leaders. On the descent, Andriy Grivko (Astana) attacked, and Vasily Kiriyenka (Sky) joined him. Kiriyenka crashed, but two other Sky men, Richie Porte and David Lopez Garcia, joined the break, as did Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Malacarne, Insausti, and Talansky.
The septet never led the bunch by more than 15 seconds, but they might as well have led by 15 minutes. The group cooperated well, and BMC, which was leading the chase, could not close the gap. Astana and Cofidis took over from the American squad, but the bunch could not get to grips with the break. The closest that the pursuit got to the leaders was 0:05. So near, and yet, so far.
The Sky men did much of the work on the run home. When Malacarne sortied at the one-km banner, Porte chased him down. That meant, however, that the sprint would be decided by one of the other five escapees. That someone was Talansky, who burst out of the middle of the group and charged down the middle of the road to take the win.
Talansky leads the race by 0:03 over Grivko and Malacarne. Stage 4 will be harder than Stage 3. The rugged, 199.5-km ride from Brioude to Saint Vallier will feature seven categorized climbs, including four Category 2 ascents. Two of the second category climbs will occur in the last 25 km of the stage, which should break up the field, if it has not already broken up by then. As was the case today, escapees should win. Will Talansky be in another winning break? Will someone such as Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) assert himself? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!