Tour of Croatia: Cerny in the break, caught within final kilometer

The peloton was relentless for Josef Cerny and his fellow escapees on stage 3 of Tour of Croatia. The break got caught inside the final 1 kilometer and for the third consecutive time the winner was selected in a bunch sprint finish.

After two exceptionally long stages of Tour of Croatia, on the third day of racing the riders had to face regular distance, of 190 kilometers. There were some short climbs on the menu, but they were located in the middle part of the stage and the most possible scenario was the bunch sprint finish.

Among those who didn’t want to wait for the battle of sprinters was Josef Cerny. He broke away early, alongside two Poles, Marcin Białobłocki (One Pro Cycling) and Kamil Gradek (Verva ActiveJet) and Nicoli Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Artem Ovechkin (Gazprom-RusVelo), Mark Christian (Team Wiggins). They established a maximum lead of 5-minutes.

The peloton was reducing the gap slowly and with 20km to go the advantage was still at 2 minutes. The attackers realized that they have a decent chances of going all the way. They collaborated well together and everyone was contributing to setting the pace. With 3 kilometers remaining they were 20 seconds ahead of the chasing bunch.

Eventually it was all about the sprinters again. Their teams caught Cerny and other “five” inside the last 1 kilometer. The finale was very tricky again, with lots of kicks and turns. If somebody tackled the last corners far back, was out of contention for top places.

Well led-out Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) grabbed his second victory in the race, by outsprinting Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems Cycling Team) and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling). Maciej Paterski finished in 31st place, and is the highest ranked CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider in the general standings – he sits in 16th, 26 back.