For the second time in a row, CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were involved in the breakaway of the day. On stage 3 of Giro d’Italia, which was only 136km long, Maciej Paterski was fighting for the stage victory and was accompanied in the front by Branislau Samoilau. In addition to that, Grega Bole was close from finishing in top 5, but was interrupted by a…spectator.
Today’s stage was short, but very hard. I didn’t feel very well and I hope that I find good rhythm in the upcoming days. The route was winding and the gaps were small, so it was hard for the teams’ cars to get behind the escape. It caused some problems with feeding and getting something to drink. Sometimes we had to share and borrow from other teams. It wasn’t an easy day, especially in such a warm weather. Some riders had difficulties to cope with heat and had cramps. That was one of the reasons the peloton was so shattered after the last climb – Maciej Paterski said afterwards.
Tomorrow is another chance for the attackers. It’s hard to tell if I will try again. It’s all about the sensations on the particular day. If I feel strong than why not to attack.
The „orange squad” fought very hard to instigate a breakaway. One of the first riders to launch an attack was yesterdays escapee, Łukasz Owsian. His move was neutralized, but soon another group emerged in the front with two CCC Sprandi Polkowice representatives. Maciej Paterski and Branislau Samoilau were present among 25 leading riders, so as “big names” such as Tom Boonen, Diego Ulissi, or Philippe Gilbert.
The group didn’t stuck for too long, since many runners tried to pull away. Paterski created some gap together with Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani – CSF Pro Team), Rubén Fernández (Movistar) i Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing). They were caught by the escapees, and the slightly reorganized (with no Tom Boonen) leading group came back together.
On cat.2 climb Samoilau and Paterski move up to the front of the group and set very solid pace. Few riders were not able to keep that speed. The group diminished and only 13 runners left in the front. The bunch was controlling the gap throughout the entire day and in the first part of racing it stayed under 2 minutes. On the climb it was leveled out at 50 seconds.
Pavel Kochetkov (Katyusha) made a solo move before the top and won the KOM. He continued his solo journey in the lead until 10km to go. This is when Paterski joined him, alongside Simon Clarke (Orica GreenEDGE) and Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal), who jumped away from the chasing group. At that moment the bunch was very close and Paterski’s ride for the stage win ended when it was only 4 km left.
It came down to a mass sprint, which was won by the maglia rosa owner, Michael Matthews. Grega Bole was well positioned in the finale (was riding behind Matthews), but with 600m to go he clipped a spectator who tried to take a picture. Slovenian lost his rhythm, position and chances for the top result. Despite cutting and bruising his arm he still managed to take 11th place.
Sylwester Szmyd, who had been aiming for the general classification before the Giro d’Italia, lost few minutes due to injuries sustained on yesterday’s stage.
Tomorrow’s race from Chiavari to La Spezia is another opportunity for “escape lovers”. There are no flat sections and the finale goes downhill.