Fernando Gaviria and Bob Jungels hit the ground in the last kilometer, but the Luxembourger retained the white jersey.
Stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico should have ended in a bunch sprint, but a crash which occurred after the flamme rouge disrupted the sprint and left a reduced group to fight for victory in Montalto di Castro, where Fernando Gaviria took his first ever World Tour win one year ago.
The Colombian prodigy was again one of the favourites, but he hit the deck in the crash which changed the dynamic of the finale, an incident in which two other Quick-Step Floors riders were involved, Tom Boonen and Bob Jungels.
Fortunately, Tom – who made his return at Tirreno-Adriatico after a gastroenteritis prevented him from training properly in the past week – was left unscathed and at the finish explained what happened in the run-in to Montalto di Castro.
"We were in the top 15 positions, with Fenando well placed on my wheel, biding our time to move to the front. Suddenly, two guys crashed in front of me and I couldn't avoid them, so I hit the tarmac with my right knee, but it's nothing serious", said the former Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner. "Fernando too went to the ground, and at that point our stage was over. It's a real pity, because we were in a good position and Fernando could have done a good sprint."
The Colombian, a stage winner at Vuelta a San Juan and Volta ao Algarve this season, suffered a few bruises on his left side (knee and hip) and on his back, while teammate Bob Jungels, also caught up in that crash, has some superficial bruises.
"It was a tense final, made even more dangerous by the downhill and the strong wind. We were in a good position, but we went down in that pile-up and that was that. I'm happy this day is over. Tomorrow I'll see how I feel at the start of the stage to Monte Terminillo, which is quite a hard climb, and what I can do there", said the 24-year-old, who continues to lead the youth standings at the "Race of the Two Seas."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele