Santa Rosa based Team BMC may be seeing their time with the Maglia Rosa leaders jersey come to a close, as a crash in the final kilometers of Monday's stage three brought down current leader Taylor Phinney. The results from stage three of the 2012 Giro d'Italia saw him lose no time on the day, but it remains to be seen how he will perform going forward.
The stage started like a typical early grand tour stage, with six riders jumping out in a breakaway. Among them was Saxo Bank's Mads Christensen, surely looking to put on a strong performance as the tour ran through his home town. Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) was also in the break, ensuring that he would be among the first up the stage's sole climb and would continue to hold the blue mountains jersey. The breakaway put on a strong effort, but Team BMC had to keep them close to protect Phinney's nine second lead in the overall standings. They were joined in their efforts by Team Sky and Orica Greenedge Cycling, both of whom had designs on winning the stage.
Stage three ended with a tight circuit through the Danish town of Horsens, an aggressive series of twists and turns where narrow streets and road furniture (curbs, medians and the like) force riders to compete for narrow space. With 24km left in the race the peloton caught the last of the breakaway, and from there it was all-out for the finish. Orica Greenedge managed to position themselves at the front of the peloton, and they led out Matthew Goss for the win. Behind the winning sprinters, though, there was a crash in the main pack that brought down both Mark Cavendish and Taylor Phinney.
Cavendish was too far back in the pack to repeat his stage two victory, but the crash may have implications in future stages. He was able to cross the finish line carrying his bike over his shoulder. Team BMC's Phinney, meanwhile, was able to get back on his bike but sustained an apparent ankle injury, and was carried off in an ambulance following the race. A few hours later Phinney said he was feeling better and would be able to continue in the race, but it's hard to hold the lead in a grand tour if you aren't in anything but peak form. The riders have a rest day tomorrow, so Phinney will have a bit of extra time to recover.
1) Matthew Harley Goss (Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team)
2) Juan José Haedo (Team Saxo Bank)
3) Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Barracuda)
1) Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) 9:24:31
2) Geraint Thomas (Sky Procycling) 0:00:09
3) Alex Rasmussen (Garmin - Barracuda) 0:00:13