Giro d’Italia 2021, stage three – live race updates and standings – GETTY IMAGES
Today’s live coverage starts at 1 pm (BST)
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage three at the Giro d’Italia, the 187-kilometer run from Biella to Canale. As eagle-eyed readers will note, we did not provide live coverage of the opening two stages – sorry about that – but over the next three weeks will be here covering all of the critical stages as possible. Telegraph Sport will report every step, with live commentary from 15 of the remaining 19 locations, including every day in the high mountains where we suspect the overall race will be determined.
After two days of racing, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) will today wear the maglia rosa, the leader’s pink jersey, after the Italian won Saturday’s time trial, while Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), who won Sunday’s sprint stage on his grand tour debut, starts in the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey, as a leader in the points classification.
Despite yesterday featuring just 600 meters in elevation gain, there was one small categorized climb – the Montechiaro d’Asti – where Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) was the first to crest the category four rises to earn himself three points which propelled him into the maglia Azzurra, blue jersey, as a leader in the mountains classification.
Ganna, 24, also leads in the youth classification. However, the Italian cannot wear two leader’s jerseys, so compatriot Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma), who is second in that particular competition, will take care of the maglia Bianca, or the white jersey.
Anyway, today’s stage is due to get underway at 11.30 am (BST), with our live rolling commentary kicking off in earnest at 1 pm, so be sure to bookmark this page and return at lunchtime when we will fill you in with everything – or anything – that has thus far happened, before talking you through to the finish.
At the risk of sounding like the seminal Andrew Weatherall remix of Saint Etienne’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart, stage three looks to be very much like a stage of two very cheeky halves. The opening 80km or so are flat along relatively wide and straight(ish) roads before reaching the town of Canelli. After 110km, the route begins to circle around back on itself. And for those who prefer to look at maps.
With three categorized climbs coming in relatively quick succession, today’s stage is a tricky little test that may suit the puncheurs and fasten who are not averse to climbing. It may also provide opportunists the chance of an ambush, so those with hopes of challenging the general classification will have to be on guard.
Today’s categorized climbs.
However, once over these three categorized climbs, there’s a sting in the tail around 15km from the finish in the town of Guarene, where there is a 2.6km climb at an average gradient of 6.8%, though it ramps up into double digits. Hold on, the fun doesn’t stop three because the race organizers have yet another little kicker (see below) around 6km out from the line that may cause some key splits.
Once over those climbs, however, the run-in to Canale appears to be pretty fast and not too technical and is likely to suit several riders with different styles and skillsets.
The apparent pick today would be Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who is in decent form and has already won two races this season, while Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), who missed out on Sunday, may also fancy his chances. Ewan, of course, impressed many with his climbing at Milan-Sanremo back in March, but today’s climbs look a little steeper than the Cipressa and the Poggio.
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) won a similar-looking stage at last year’s Giro, and I would not be surprised if Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) gave it a go. The young Belgian doesn’t mind the steep stuff as we saw at San Sebastian a couple of years ago and, despite arriving at the Giro, an unknown having not raced since last August appears in perfect form. Anyway, that’s enough idle speculation for one day. As mentioned above, live coverage starts at 1 pm. Ciao, for now.