Nizzolo notches Wallonie stage
Giacomo Nizzolo: Held his nerve to take the stage win and the lead in Wallonie Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan) sprinted to victory in a crash-marred finish to stage three of the Tour de Wallonie.
A tough, undulating 185.9-kilometre route saw a reduced peloton of around 30 riders contest the finish yet that did not stop an accident on the finishing straight in Beaufays.
Michel Kreder (Garmin-Sharp) was squeezed into the barriers in the final metres, setting off a multi-rider incident which caught out, amongst others, Team Sky’s Michael Barry.
None of that stopped Nizzolo who steered clear of the carnage to comfortably hold off his rivals, the young Italian edging out Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) at the finish.
The toughest stage of the race produced some hard racing, with constant attacks over the final two climbs on the run for home.
For the third consecutive day the stage winner became the new race leader, Nizzolo moving to the head of affairs with two tests remaining.
Queen stage No less than nine categorised climbs meant there would be plenty of suffering in the peloton on a tough day in Belgium, the peloton negotiating some famous terrain featured in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege monument.
After the first intermediate sprint point of the day 15 riders went clear, the sizeable group holding an advantage around the three-minute mark with Team Sky among the squads helping to set the pace behind.
Following the first pass over the steep Cote de Wanne, Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Laurent Didier (RadioShack-Nissan) pushed onwards from their fellow escapees for a brief period.
Behind the peloton split in half on the undulating terrain under pressure from BMC Racing and Omega Pharma-Quickstep, the escapees eventually absorbed inside 40km to go.
With the stage win and the race lead up for grabs that was the cue for numerous counter-attacks to fire clear, yet none could make an advantage stick as a sprint decided the day.