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Giro d’Italia: Belgium’s Tim Merlier sprints to stage three victory

Belgium’s Tim Merlier powered to victory in stage three of the Giro d’Italia.

The Soudal Quick-Step rider narrowly finished ahead of Jonathan Milan and Biniam Girmay in a hectic bunch sprint.

Race leader Tadej Pogacar, who won stage two on Sunday, and Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas launched an attack with 3km to go.

But the pair were caught before the line and Merlier was fastest as he claimed his second Giro stage win, adding to his stage two victory in 2021.

“It was the hardest victory so far,” Merlier said.

“It was a really hard final, in the last kilometre I never found a good slipstream, so I was always in the wind. In the last 300m I heard ‘you need to go’.

“Milan was starting his sprint on the left side, I knew I was gonna be first or second and I’m happy to win this one.”

Slovenia’s Pogacar retains the leader’s pink jersey with a 47-second lead over Colombia’s Bora-hansgrohe rider Daniel Martinez and Thomas.

Speaking about the last-minute move from Pogacar, Ineos Grenadiers’ Thomas told Eurosport: “That wasn’t the plan.

“I was just trying to hold his wheel, trying to give him a turn, but it was solid. I looked back and was surprised to see such a big gap but I knew they were going to come back, especially with how I was feeling.

“It’s been a good start, I’m feeling all right and hopefully it will continue to build.”

With 19km remaining, it was announced Wales’ Simon Carr of EF Education-Easypost had become the third rider to drop out of the race.

Tuesday’s fourth stage is a 190km route from Acqui Terme to Andora on the Italian Riviera.

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