It was not to be. He was caught by the chasing bunch as the peloton roared into Arnhem, having escaped from the four-man break he had been part of since the start of the race. Van Zyl had dropped his competitors with around 10km to go, and held a gap of around one minute until the sprinters’ teams put the hammer down. For a spell, it looked as though Van Zyl might stay away after a crash in the main bunch, but after a period of disarray, Etixx-Quickstep pulled the race into order.
By way of consolation, Van Zyl’s Dimension Data teammate, Italian Kristian Sbaragli took sixth place on his birthday behind Germany’s Marcel Kittel of Etixx-Quickstep. It was Sbaragli’s second sixth place on the trot after he finished in the same position on the second stage.
Omar Fraile, Dimension Data’s Basque rider, gave up the King of the Mountains jersey he won on Saturday to the Netherlands’ Maarten Tjallingii, who took the maximum points on the climb of the day. Fraile’s jersey was the second time the South African-registered World Tour team have worn a major jersey at a Grand Tour, after Daniel Teklehaimanot of Eritrea did so in last year’s Tour de France. Fraile won the King of the Mountains category at last year’s Vuelta a Espana while with Team Caja Rural.
“Johann’s ride was magnificent,” said Doug Ryder, the team principal. “He has huge heart and character, and immense talent. We saw what he could do when he won at the Tour of Austria last year, and he impressed in his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta in 2015. Having one of the five African riders in this nine-man squad perform so well is great for the continent and for South Africa.
“We came here wanting to make an impact, and in our first three days we have done just that. It was absolutely fantastic to have taken the jersey. It is our goal to be visible and aggressive and to do as much as we can in the race so for Omar to go out there and do it as was planned, is just incredible. To talk about something and then to go and do it is exceptional.
“To have a guy who has just come off winning the King of the Mountains at the Vuelta a Espana, come to the Giro d’Italia and to wear the leaders’ jersey in the King of the Mountains again, just shows what kind of rider he is.”
w Reuters reports that Kittel followed up on his victory in Saturday’s second stage by outsprinting Italian pair Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo to win the third stage and claim the pink jersey.
“I am super-happy to have this leader’s jersey,” said Kittel after ending the race’s three-day grand partenza with a flourish.
“I can say now that I wore the leader’s jersey in the Tour (de France in 2014) and also in the Giro d’Italia.
“It’s something very unique and something I am really proud of.” - Cape Times
Original source: Van Zyl’s brave effort at the Giro