Andrew Talansky of Team Garmin-Sharp surged ahead to the win in the final stretch of the third stage of Paris-Nice in Brioude, putting him also in the overall lead for the 7-day stage race.
“Andrew and the team fought hard for today’s stage,” said his Sports Director, Geert Van Bondt. “Taking the leader’s jersey was a great bonus,” he added.
The 170.5 kilometer stage from Chatel-Guyon was accompanied by rain, when the Miami-born Talansky outsprinted a group of seven break riders who had kept the peloton at bay in the final ten kilometers.
Talansky gained most in the final second category climb but it was on the downhill that the break took shape. The 24-year-old American outwitted Italy’s David Malacarne and Spain’s Gorka Izaguirre to the line.
Four Get Away Early–
The stage of 176 riders commenced at 11:57 AM and it was already raining. Ivan Guttierez (MOV) did not start. Four riders broke away almost immediately, among them Martijn Keizer (VCD), Sébastien Minard (ALM) , Mads Christensen (TST), and Alexis Vuillermoz (SOJ).
The break rapidly gained momentum and remained stable for a little while, with Christensen winning the first intermediate sprint of the day (Km 34) ahead of Vuillermoz and Keizer.
Keizer collects King of the Mountain points– Vacansoleil rider Kreizer went in the break to keep the polka-dot jersey. First to the top of the Col de Potey (km 85) and Cote de la Foret de la Comte (km 95.5), both times he was ahead of Vuillermoz.
While the Cannondale team-mates of Elia Viviani led the chase, they were joined by Tom Boonen (OPQ), who spent many miles in the lead, presumably gearing up for the upcoming classics. As a result, the four were caught by the peloton at 148 kms, before reaching the last climb of the day.
Team Sky set a fast clip up the Cote de Mauvagnat, too fast for leader Viviani, who lost time at 18 kms to go.
The Seven Ahead–
In the descent of the Cote de Mauvagnat, Andriy Grivko (AST) attacked with Vasili Kiriyenka (SKY), who crashed, but was still joined by two other Team Sky riders, Richie Porte and David Lopez Garcia, local favorite Romain Bardet (ALM), David Malacarne (EUC), Gorka Izaguirre (EUS) and Andrew Talansky (GRS).
Those riders worked together and managed to hold the chase at bay to the finish line. Though the Sky riders had done a great deal of the work, they paid for it in the finale and there was no stopping Talansky when he surged to snatch his major win to date.
Among the big names to lose vital time today were Robert Gesink (BLA), who lost a minute, Simon Gerrans (OGE), who finished 2:58 behind, and Thomas de Gendt (VCD), who lost 5:29.
If you are interested in getting to know Talansky a little better, check out his blog. While you’re at it, don’t miss this very nicely made video by Garmin-Sharp for their Garmin road performance devices. It would be hard not to buy one after seeing this.