Matthews wins Giro 3rd stage, Evenepoel still in pink

Australian veteran Michael Matthews (left) takes Monday's third stage sprint

Australian veteran Michael Matthews (left) takes Monday’s third stage sprint

Australian Michael Matthews prevailed in a sprint finish to Monday’s third stage of the Giro d’Italia with Remco Evenepoel retaining the leader’s pink jersey.

Belgium‘s Evenepoel, winner of the opening time-trial, heads the general classification by 32 seconds from Joao Almeida, with arch rival Primoz Roglic 44sec adrift.

This was Matthews’ 10th success on one of cycling’s big three tours but his first in Italy since 2015.

“I’m lost for words, these last three months have been difficult. So to win a stage is amazing, it’s more than I could have ever imagined,” said the 32-year-old.

He paid tribute to the effort his Jayco-Alula team put in to deliver him the win in a dashing end to the 216km ride in wet conditions from Vasto to Melfi.

Dane Mads Pedersen crossed in second with another Aussie, Kadem Groves, third.

Tuesday’s fourth stage from Venosa features three ascents of over 1,000m altitude.