Crevalcore, Italy — Team Novo Nordisk’s Chris Williams spent most of Stage 3 at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali on the front of an 18-man breakaway.
“We knew today was our best opportunity during Coppi e Bartali, so I really encouraged the guys to get into the break,” Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko said. “I was glad to see Chris spend so much of the day at the front.”
Along with 17 others, Williams escaped right from the start of the 158.4-kilometer race that featured 12 laps around Crevalcore. Yet, the peloton refused to let the escapees gain more than 1:32.
“I knew I wanted to get into the break today and it was full gas from the very start,” Australian Chris Williams said. “Everyone in the break worked really well together. It was obvious that we all wanted to stay away, but by the final few laps, we just no longer had the power to keep the peloton at bay.”
After the long day out front, Cannondale and Team Sky pulled the field within reach on the final laps. In the ensuing sprint, Team Novo Nordisk’s Martijn Verschoor finished in the same time as stage winner Elia Viviani (Cannondale).
“We were hoping to take on the sprint finish, but a crash separated Martijn and Andrea Peron,” Davidenko said. “With so many strong teams, Martijn and Andrea really needed one another to have a chance at today’s sprint finish.”
Sunday’s final stage of the four-day race is an individual time trial beginning in Pavullo. While only 10-km in length, the final 900 meters includes a climb with gradients between 19 and 21 percent before finishing at the Castello di Montecuccolo, a picturesque castle built in the 11th century.