Thanks for joining us and see you tomorrow for stage four.
Thanks for joining us and see you tomorrow for stage four.
General classification: 1. Paolini, 2. Wiggins +17, 3. Uran +17, Intxausti +26, 5. Nibali +31.
Stage top five: 1. Paolini, 2. Evans +16, 3. Hesjedal +16, 4. Santambrogio +16, 5. Sanchez +16.
With the bonus seconds for winning, Paolini will move into the pink jersey tonight - he was just 19 seconds down on GC following yesterday's team time trial.
Cadel Evans (BMC) takes second place and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) third - both pick up some valuable bonus seconds from the chasing pack.
Victory for Italian veteran Luca Paolini of Katusha!
Hedjedal and Nibali lead the chase as Paolini nips under the 1km-to-go kite.
Scarponi will loose a lot of time today - that happened just outside the final 3km section. Paolini still leads as he completes the descent.
CRASH: Scarponi crashes for Lampre with a Blanco rider. And his bike is broken and he'll have to wait for a change. Two Blanco riders went down and third-place Scarponi braked and then crashed onto his shoulder.
Luca Paolini now has 11 seconds and it's looking good - although there is a flat final kilometre so anything could happen.
Two more riders come to grief on the downhill - from Katusha and Bardiani.
Paolini has six seconds as Blanco take up the chase.
We're onto the final descent and it looks like Sky have come to the front. One of the Colombia riders overcooks a bend and has to clip out of the pedals. Luca Paolini of Katusha now attacks!
This is a short ramp of about 1km in length. Uran is back here for Wiggins now. There is about 30 riders in this main group, with Fabio Aru setting the pace for Astana.
They're onto a slight uphill before the final descent. Tanel Kangert of Astana has crashed - the Estonian winces in pain as he gets back on his bike.
Wiggins will be in pink tonight provided he doesn't come a cropper.
Wiggins is plaing this descent bery safe. He's back in about 10th position but not allowing things to get too strung out amongst the leaders. Pozzovivo has been dropped. There is a BMC rider here, but it's not obvious if it's Evans from the aerial shots.
Carlos Betancur overshoots a bend and has to run out into the grass verge. That was a scare for the Colombian at Ag2r. Still Hesjedal is driving the pace on the front.
Amazing aerial shots of these switchbacks - the peloton is strung out, there are groups all over the place for this descent. Yes, Visconti only got five points in the KOM competition so it will be Wauters in blue after he took the Cat.2 climb earlier in the day.
The gap is minimal though, despite Hesjedal pushing on. It's a long, winding, twisting descent that favours the brave.
BMC and Vini Fantini put in attacks too, but the Hesjedal trio have a small gap over the chasing pack.
valerio Agnoli of Astana pings off the front on the descent. He's chased down by Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Sharp. The Canadian defending champion is very excitable today. Luca Paolini of Katusha joins them on the front.
All the favourites are crowding around Nibali because the know he is a good descender. There's a small flat plateau first, then the first downhill, a slight uphill, then a long and technical 8km ride down to the coastline and the finish.
Giovanni Visconti of Movistar, the current blue jersey, leaps clear to pick up maximum points over the summit ahead of the Astana train. That may keep him in the lead - although it's not certain. Willem Wauters is on nine points, and Visconti only had three before that Cat.3 climb.
It's the Estonian national champion Tanel Kangert of Astana who is driving the pace. The pink jersey is already a minute off the back.
Astana now have four men - including Nibali - on the front of the pack. It looks like Cadel Evans has fought back for BMC. Meanwhile, Danilo Di Luca is struggling for Vini Fantini.
The pink jersey Salvatore Puccio is struggling to stay in contact with this main pack. In fact, he's off the back now. Still, it was a day he'll never forget.
The chasing peloton is regrouping. Nibali has two Astana team-mates with him on the front, with Wiggins in his wheel. Hesjedal slows and allows himself to be caught. He looks back and sees that he has no team-mates. D'oh...
Hesjedal attacks! The Canadian rides off the front just as Fabio Taborre is past by the group of favourites.
This select group of around eight riders are onto the Cat.3 Sella di Catona - 6.6% with a max of 13%. The likes of Wiggins, Hesjedal, Scarponi, Nibali are all here... but no sign of Evans.
Garmin and Astana have completely blasted the pack to pieces - and a massive selection has been made before this Cat.3 climb actually gets going properly.
Garmin are now setting a fierce pace on the front of the peloton, with Astana right there. Wiggins is in the mix, but surrounded by no team-mates. Meanwhile, it's all over for Taborre, who is pedalling squares. He'll lose a lot of time today...
The grey clouds on the horizon look rather ominous. Perhaps we will get that rain after all... The gap is down to just 1:27 for Fabio Taborre over the peloton so it looks like he's going to be swept up quite soon. The five other escapees have just 15 seconds over the peloton.
The chasing group is not working well together and Dirk Bellemakers puts in an attack in a bid to shake things up. The reality is that Taborre probably killed the break by attacking so early. He may have regrets about that later tonight.
It looks like the chasing group are now not a factor for the lone leader: the five fugitives are losing time to Taborre and the peloton is returning fast. The Vini Fantini man now has 2:50 over the pack. The heart says yes but the head says now...
Sticky bidon for Lampre's Jose Serpa, who has quite a phenomenal moustache. Sean Kelly says that riders would be drinking around 10 to 12 bidons of water on humid days like this.
Taborre now has 1:05 over the five chasers and 3:30 over the peloton. Bart de Backer, who was in the break, has been caught by the pack.
The peloton is one long line now in the flat segment between climbs. Katusha have joined Sky on the front, while those sprinters - Cavendish, Bouhanni et al - have fought their way back on.
Lone leader Fabio Taborre has 50 seconds over the five chasers. He is the virtual pink jersey but could well implode on the final climb of the day. Meanwhile, a crash has brought down a cluster of riders back in the peloton - Emanuele Sella and Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli) and Laurent Pichon (FDJ). Poor Pichon - he crashed heavily in the opening stage in Naples.
Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole) both crash in separate incidents on the downhill inside the peloton.
It's four and a half hours in the saddle now for the riders, with Fabio Taborre leading the race for Vini Fantini. It's an interesting move. If he can get over the summit of the next climb in pole position, he will get some points for the blue competition. And if you have a decent gap over the summit, then the stage is yours because it's a 8km downhill to the finish. But by going solo now he may be shooting himself in the foot...
CORRECTION: Taborre has gone alone! The Italian has attacked his fellow escapees and rides on the front of the race. Could he be putting himself into the pink jersey via the stage win today? It's very early to say - but this would be reminiscent of team-mate Matteo Rabbotini's win from last year.
Taborre must have had a little problem because he's not chasing back on to the other leaders. He's 22 seconds down. The peloton are still four minutes back.
The race is very strung out on this descent, with the break's lead back up to 4:16. They have reached the end of the downhill and are now on a lumpy segment ahead of the final climb of the day. It's touch and go as to whether or not they can stay out.
Lampre's Daniele Pietropolli has crashed for the second time in three days. The Italian has a graze on his left hip and is fighting his way back onto the peloton.
The road surface is fairly mixed, with some lumpy potholes sections and other new strips of pristine tarmac. Still no sign of the rain that was reported towards the finish earlier in the day.
The six escapees are back together on the descent. Remember that they were initially a seven-man group but Bart de Backer (Argos Shimano) was dropped on the climb and has, in all likelihood, been caught by the pack.
The Cavendish-Bouhanni gruppeto crossed the summit 5:22 down on the leaders, so that means Cav has 1:40 to make up on the peloton on the descent. He may struggle with that.
Confirmation of the points over the top of the San Mauro Cilento climb: 1. Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil) 9pts, 2. Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank) 5pts, 3. Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini) 3pts.
Sky lead the peloton over the summit 3:42 down on the leaders.
Sky are back on the front of the chasing peloton, with Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin right up there too. The clock is ticking - it will be interesting to see what the gap is.
Boaro leads out the sprint for the KOM points, but it's Wauters who passes him to take the points with Tabbore in third. Now the all-important descent - and Taborre is taking some risks ahead of the other two escapees.
Pantano puts in a dig and is covered by Boaro. The others manage to peg them back, although Bellemakers looks to be on the ropes.
The six leaders are approaching the summit of the San Mauro Cilento... whoever takes the points could well be in the blue jersey tonight.
Mark Cavendish, winner of stage one and wearing the red points jersey, is on the back of the peloton and clearly struggling on this climb. This is ominous for the Manxman, especially with that second climb coming up. Nacer Bouhanni, the French champion, has also been dropped off the back. The seven leaders have 4:45.
Vini Fantini have four men on the front of the peloton despite having that man Fabio Taborre in the leading group. After their strong time trial, they have a cluster of riders just 22 seconds down on GC. The seven leaders have 5:15 over the peloton now, with Venezuelan Jackson Rodriguez setting the pace in the break and Bart de Backer now off the back.
There's a bit of a tangle at the start of the climb for the peloton, with a few riders coming to a near stand-still on the first tight bend into the climb. Just before, on a short descent, Blanco's Wilco Keldeman crashed into a ditch. It's a Blanco now on the front conrolling the pace before their man rejoins the back of the pack.
Taborre and Boaro lead the break up the climb, both in the dancing position.
BMC, Garmin, Movistar and Astana are all fairly active on the front of the pack. Meanwhile, the leaders are onto the Cat.2 San Mauro Cilento climb, which averages 6.7% for 7.8km - but starts with some nasty 16% narrow hairpin bends.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step have come to the front of the peloton now, with Sky peeling off the front. It's not their job now, with the Belgian team thinking about a win for Mark Cavendish - providing he can get over those hills.
Will the seven escapees stay out? They have 6:53 over the peloton with that first big climb coming right up.
There are numerous rises in the coastal road now ahead of the Cat.2 San Mauro Cilento. Fabio Taborre has dropped back to the Vini Fantini car to have a chat with his team manager. They know that if they play their cards right, they could well be in pink tonight. But there is still a long way to go - and these riders will not necessarily stay out.
Pink jersey Salvatore Puccio has pink handlebars and a pink saddle today, milking it as much as he can. Do you blame him? This is the 23-year-old's debut grand tour - and he's already in the lead on home soil.
We have the first of those two climbs coming up in about 15km. The gap is still around 6:40 for the escapees, with Fabio Taborre in virtual pink.
Sky have a full quota of riders on the front of the peloton as they pass through Agropoli, 6:42 down on the seven leaders. There are some decent temples in this neck of the woods.
Crash in the peloton involving a RadioShack rider and a Vacansoleil rider. Their bikes are tangled up together but it doesn't look too serious. Just a bit earlier, red jersey Mark Cavendish picked up a puncture and needed a wheel change.
Bert de Backer won the second intermediate sprint ahead of Manuele Boaro and Willem Wauters. This break of seven riders attacked from the outset of today's stage - as soon as the flag was waved for the official start. They have 6:54 over the pack.
Nothing serious for Tiralongo - one of Vincenzo Nibali's main lieutenants at Astana - after that crash. A team Astana tweet just in: "Tiralongo small slow-speed crash after St3 #Giro feed zone, returns immediately on spare bike, race doctor sprays right knee for cuts."
The lead is seven minutes for the seven leaders, who are approaching the temple-tastic town of Paestum.
CRASH: Italian Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) has taken a tumble during the feed zone.
So, what do you make of the news that Froome will lead Sky during the Tour? It's not so much of a surprise - but very telling that David Brailsford has felt the need to make such a statement. Wonder what the reaction was from Bradley Wiggins when he heard about it through race radio?
A reminder of the seven leaders: Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini), Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM), Jarlison Pantano (Colombia), Bert De Backer (Argos Shimano), Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto Belisol) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli).
BREAKING NEWS: Sir Dave Brailsford has confirmed that Chris Froome - and not defending champion Bradley Wiggins - will lead Team Sky in this year's Tour de France. "It is crucial there is clarity of purpose and, for that reason, we will go to the Tour with one leader," he told teamsky.com. Given Chris's step up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January, is to have him lead the Tour de France team."
The lead is fairly stable for the seven escapees: 6:40 at the latest check, with Team Sky still controlling matters on the front of the peloton.
The seven-man break pass through the town of Salerno with a 6:38 advantage over the peloton, which is being led by the Sky team of pink jersey Salvatore Puccio. Sky won't be too bothered about retaining the maglia rosa tonight so we can expect a new race leader tonight.
Dirk Bellemakers has a mechanical issue and needs to drop back to replace his bike just ahead of the first intermediate sprint, which is won by Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini). The seven leaders are now onto a long flat segment of the stage which runs south alongside the coast.
The best-known rider in this seven-man group is Italian Manuele Boaro of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff. The 26-year-old joined Saxo in 2011. He is a time trial specialist, finishing 3rd in last year's Giro prologue in Herning behind Taylor Phinney and Geraint Thomas. It was his debut grand tour too. Described by team manager Bjarne Riis as "very talented", Boaro won the mountains classification in this year's Volta ao Algarve.
Colombian Jarlinson Pantano is a 24-year-old climber riding his debut grand tour and still looking for his maiden professional win. Venezuela's Jackson Rodriguez is 28 and is riding his fifth Giro d'Italia. He finished 26th on GC in his first appearance in 2009. 27-year-old Fabio Taborre, the virtual pink jersey, won the 2011 Memorial Marco Pantani race and joined Vini Fantini after two years at Acqua e Sapone. This is his second appearance in the Giro after finishing 98th in 2011.
Let's take a closer look at these seven riders in the break. Argos Shimano's Bert de Backer is 29 years old and has no pro wins to his name, but he did take the sprint classification in the Three Days of La Panne race in 2011. This is his first Giro appearance. Fellow Belgian Willem Wauters is only 22 and is riding his first grand tour for Vacansoleil. A third Belgian in this group, 29-year-old Dirk Bellemakers joined Lotto Belisol in the winter is is riding his first grand tour too.
Giro d'Italia race organiser Michele Aquarone has just tweeted: "At the media centre some say the @giroditalia is too much TT oriented. IMHO the 2013 Giro's route is balanced, unpredictable and sexy!" With almost 90km of time trials this year, it's easy to see why Bradley Wiggins is the race favourite. What do you think?
Who do you think will win today's stage? Will this break stay out until the end or will they be reeled back by the peloton? Should the break falter, will there be a counter attack over those two climbs in the last third of the stage? Web users can have their say below - or send me a Tweet @saddleblaze. The gap is up to 6:20 for the escapees.
The lead of this seven-man break is now up to almost six minutes. Fabio Taborre is the virtual pink jersey. The Vini Fantini man is 22 seconds down on GC after his Italian Pro Continental outfit put in a solid performance in yesterday's time trial in Ischia to come fifth.
Some background information on the unexpected pink jersey, Salvatore Puccio: the 23-year-old was born and bred in Sicily before moving to Umbria, aged 13, when his father, a truck driver, was offered a job in the reconstruction of Assisi after an earthquake. Puccio used to race in amateur races in Tuscany before being picked up by Sky in 2012. La Gazzetta described him today as: "A handsome man, the body of Moser, like Francesco, tall and lean but strong, with the face of an Irishman."
You can join in today's action on Twitter and enjoy some banter, fun and games. Just follow me @saddleblaze.
The seven leaders are: Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini), Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM), Jarlison Pantano (Colombia), Bert De Backer (Argos Shimano), Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto Belisol) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli). They have five minutes over the pack now.
The seven escapees now have four and a half minutes over the pack - but we're still waiting for confirmation of a full breakdown of names. All we know is that it includes those two riders Wauters and Pantano.
A reminder of the state of play on GC at this early stage in the race: 23-year-old Salvatore Puccio, riding his maiden home tour, is in pink. The Italian is level on time with Sky team-mates Bradley Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Dario Cataldo and Rigoberto Uran. A cluster of Movistar riders are all nine seconds down after their second-place run in yesterday's TTT: Benat Intxausti, Giovanni Visconti (the blue KOM jersey holder), Jose Herrada, Alex Dowsett (the white youth jersey) and Eros Capecchi.
This seven-man group includes Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jarlison Pantano (Colombia) and now has a couple of minutes over the pack. Details are very sketchy at this point, however.
BREAK: Seven riders have managed to escape the clutches of the peloton. Full details coming up.
With that downhill towards the finish perhaps we can expect some of Bradley Wiggins's rivals to take back some time lost during yesterday's team time trial, won by Sky. Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel is renowned for his descending skills, as is Astana's Vincenzo Nibali...
We're under way in Sorrento for the first full-length stage of the 96th edition of the Giro d'Italia. The riders first take on a couple of circuits of the famous tourist town before a 130km jaunt south along the coast that includes two intermediate sprints. Then things get tricky with the Cat.2 San Mauro Cilento climb followed by the Cat.3 Sella di Catona. Such are the difficulty of the climbs, you'd expect a break in the pack and many of the top sprinters ma not be around to contest the finish.
It's a cloudy start at Sorrento and there's some rain forecast for the second half of the stage. That would make it rather interesting with those two categorised climbs and the long, technical descent to the finish.
Yesterday, Italian youngster Salvatore Puccio rode into the pink jersey after the Sky team of Bradley Wiggins won stage two of the Giro d'Italia - a team time trial on the island of Ischia. Team Sky completed the highly technical 17.4km course in a time of 22 minutes and five seconds to beat Movistar by nine seconds and the Astana team of Wiggins's big rival, Vincenzo Nibali, by 14 seconds.
Good morning and welcome to live coverage of stage three of the 2013 Giro d'Italia - an undulating 222km ride along the Amalfi coast from Sorrento to Marina Di Ascea.