Bałtyk-Karkonosze: Stępniak second in the sprinters’ battle

Grzegorz Stępniak was close to taking second consecutive victory on Stage 3 of Bałtyk – Karkonosze Tour. He finished 2nd, just behind Nikolay Zhurkin.

On the third day of racing the riders had 210 kilometers ahead of them. It was the longest stage of the 5-day event. First 30 kilometers were covered at a very high pace, since lots of riders wanted to make the breakaway. The speed decreased when the 5-man escape was formed. It included Radoslav Konstantinov (Martigues), Grzegorz Pawlak (Whistle Eskom Ziemia Brzeska), Lehcen Saber (Maroco), Max Woerner (MLP Team-Bergstrasse) and Edvin Wilson (Sweden). Their maximum advantage reached over 12 minutes. It started to drop when CCC Sprandi Polkowice began the chase.

In the end, the leading group broke in pieces. One part of it was caught before the final laps and the other on the streets of Tarnowo Podgórne. The stage was decided in a bunch sprint and again the “riders in orange” set up the lead-out train for Grzegorz Stępniak. This time, yesterday’s winner had to settle for 2nd place and was bested by Nikolay Zhurkin (Russia). Eryk Latoń, who was helping Stępniak before the final push, almost made the podium and was 5th.

When the escape was established everyone was waiting for us to start the chase. All eyes were on our team, and since we didn’t have a representative in the break we decided to pick up the pace in the bunch. We closed the gap and brought the race to a mass sprint. Today Grzegorz Stępniak started the finish slightly to early and it cost him a victory  – sporting director of CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Robert Krajewski said afterwards.

Peter Williams (One Pro Cycling) kept the leading jersey, and Leszek Pluciński still sits 4th overall.