Hat-trick for Gaviria as Du­moulin de­fends pink

New Straits Times - - Sport -

REGGIO EMILIA: Colom­bian Fer­nando Gaviria staked his claim for the sprint­ers top prize at the 100th Giro d’Italia after pow­er­ing to a third win on stage 12 that frus­trated the hosts again on Thurs­day.

Dutch­man Tom Du­moulin, of the Sun­web team, re­tained the race leader’s pink jer­sey and an over­all lead of 2min 23sec on 2014 cham­pion and race favourite Nairo Quin­tana of Mo­vis­tar.

Be­fore the bat­tle for the “maglia rosa” re­sumes to­day, when the race heads back into the moun­tains, Italy’s drought con­tin­ued.

Quick Step sprinter Gaviria, al­ready vic­to­ri­ous on stages three and five and a run­ner-up to Aus­tralian Caleb Ewan (Orica) on stage seven, claimed his third win with a text­book sprint helped by the for­mi­da­ble lead­out of Ar­gen­tine team­mate Max­i­m­il­iano Richeze, de­spite him suf­fer­ing a punc­ture in the fi­nal kilo­me­tres.

Ital­ian Jakub Mareczko fin­ished sec­ond to Gaviria for the sec­ond time in the race — the first time in the his­tory of the Giro an Ital­ian had failed to win in­side 12 stages.

“This win is for the team,” said Gaviria after the 229 km ride from Forli to Reggio Emilia.

On his race de­but Gaviria has a firm grip on the sprint­ers “ci­cla­men” jer­sey, which he in­tends to se­cure at the fin­ish in Mi­lan on May 28.

Al­though Ger­man sprint gi­ant An­dre Greipel has won only one sprint on the 100th edi­tion so far, Gaviria said: “The best sprinter in this Giro is An­dre Greipel. He’s won more stages in his ca­reer than me and won more stages of the Giro.”

He added: “We’re mo­ti­vated to fin­ish the Giro. We have to take some points on the way be­cause I want to win this jer­sey in Mi­lan.

“I came here for ex­pe­ri­ence, and to win, and I’m gain­ing both.” AFP

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