Tour de France: Simon Gerrans beats Peter Sagan in photo finish to claim stage-three win

By Matt Westby.   Last Updated: 02/07/13 9:42am

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Simon Gerrans, left, held off Peter Sagan, right, to claim victory

Simon Gerrans, left, held off Peter Sagan, right, to claim victory

Simon Gerrans beat Peter Sagan in a photo finish to claim victory on stage three of the Tour de France as Jan Bakelants retained the leader's yellow jersey.

Gerrans pipped his Slovakian rival by the width of a tyre after a rolling and technical day ended in a reduced-bunch sprint in Calvi, on Corsica's west coast.

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) did not contest the finish after being dropped on the last of the day's four categorised climbs, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) crossed the line safely in the peloton.

Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard) also finished with the main bunch to consolidate his one-second overall lead and keep hold of the maillot jaune for a second day.

The result was Sagan's second runner-up finish in succession at the Tour, which was good enough to see him move into the points classification leader's green jersey, a title he won last year.

The Cannondale rider had been perfectly placed coming off the final corner, sitting directly behind Gerrans, who in turn was being led out by his Orica-GreenEDGE team-mate Daryl Impey.

Spectacular stage

Gerrans was the first to jump and although Sagan came back at him strongly, the Australian held on to upset the odds and take a famous win.

Stage three took the riders on a spectacular and undulating route up Corsica's west coast, from Ajaccio to Calvi.

Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) was part of a five-man breakaway and established himself as a contender in the mountains classification by being first to the summit of the first three categorised climbs.

That took him level at the top of the King of the Mountains standings with Pierre Rolland (Europcar) on five points, and he later attacked solo at the foot of the final ascent, the category-two Col de Marsolino, in a bid to take the outright lead.

However, Rolland had also attacked out of the peloton and caught and overtook the Australian 1.5km from the summit, before going on to take maximum points at the top to strengthen his grip on the polka dot jersey.

Late break fails

Rolland's thoughts then turned to the stage win and he set off down the 13.5km descent to the finish line in a solo bid for glory, but was soon joined by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who had darted clear of the peloton in pursuit.

The quartet worked together well and held a lead of around nine seconds over the chasing pack, but with Cannondale and Orica-GreenEDGE eyeing a sprint, they were caught and swallowed up with 3km remaining.

Britain's Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) finished 9min 15sec down on the leaders after struggling through a difficult day with the injuries he picked up on stage one's mass pile-up.

Scans on Sunday night revealed the Olympic gold medal-winning track cyclist has a fractured pelvis and his continued participation in the Tour is now in doubt.

Stage three result

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE 3:41:24
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale, same time
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar, st
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, st
6 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM, st
7 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana, st
8 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2rLa Mondiale, st
9 Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun, st
10 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, st
Selected others
28 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
29 David Millar (GB) Garmin-Sharp, st
51 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, st
166 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +9:15
177 Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky, st

General classification

1 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard, 12:21:27
2 Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun, +1sec
3 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky, st
6 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
7 David Millar (GB) Garmin-Sharp, st
8 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM, st
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, st
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
Selected others
15 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
60 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, st

Other jerseys

- Green (points classification): Peetr Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
- Polka dot (mountains classification): Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar
- White (best young rider): Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step

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