Juan Pedro López goes on the attack and is crucial at the end of the stage in Ragusa
Giro di Sicilia
Stage 3: Caltanissetta – Ragusa (188 km)
Very difficult day on the island of Sicily. A persistent rain hardened even more the development of a third stage with a last moments orographically as complicated by the slopes as dangerous by the descent and some stretches of road in poor condition and with much presence of water in it. If in the two previous days the Kometa Cycling Team had presence in the break of the day, this Friday the strong men of the team were in the important moments. Juan Pedro López and Michel Ries, also Stefano Oldani, were riding at the tip, attentive to the evolutions of the race and even going on the attack.
From an acceleration of López, in fact, a counterattack of Brandon McNulty (Rally) was born that would allow the American to reach the finish alone, with 55 seconds of margin on the main group, about thirty riders, where Lebrija and Oldani would arrive. A counterattack that was his springboard to a leadership that will have to defend this Saturday in the skirts of Etna.
López had attacked about thirteen kilometres from the end, when twenty-seven runners were leading the race after the neutralisation of Fausto Masnada (Androni). The Italian at the same time had attack in the ascent to Serra di Burgo, there where the effort of the break of the day were extinguished and the resolution of the stage was becoming a question of forty cyclists. Masnada crowned Serra di Burgo in first position, which lifted the mountain leader jersey that the Manchego Isaac Canton had been holding in the first two stages.
López, who in Serra di Burgo had been seen riding at the head of the group and who was one of the nine cyclists who initially jumped for Masnada, did not hesitate to try it later. Previously, 15 km from the end, the Luxembourger Michel Ries had also been seen, filling a gap opened by the Slovenian UAE Jan Polanc. McNulty ended up catching up with López, whom he picked up at a very high pace. Pedal to pedal, taking many risks in a final more dangerous still by the wet of the road, the twisty of some downhill sections, some complicated step and the doubts inherent in a larger group, ended up consolidating his income. Eleventh place for López in Ragusa, fourteenth for Lopez, both 56 seconds from the winner. Somewhat further behind came Ries, twenty-second. And above all very positive feelings. The Kometa Cycling Team was the second team in the squad classification and occupies the same position in the general standings, 29 seconds behind Neri Sottoli Selle Italia.
The new Giro de Sicilia will close this Saturday alongside the Rifugio Sapienza, after a demanding climb of almost twenty kilometres with constant ramps around 6 and 7%. A 128-kilometre stage which, in addition to the final climb, also includes the climb to Maletto (1000m). In the general Stefano Oldani arrives in the thirteenth place at 1:06 of the leader, while Juan Pedro Lopez is in the fifteenth, at the same time margin. Further back, 22nd in the standings, at 1:38, is Luxembourg’s Michel Ries. On the part of the Kometa Cycling Team, José Antonio García, who retired during this third stage, will not be part of the race.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)