It was the day for brave sprinters in Croatia and it was wrapped up with victory of Nicola Ruffoni. Climbers of CCC Sprandi Polkowice didn’t contest the hectic sprint, but moved up one spot in the GC.
Info: April 20th, stage 3, Imotski – Zadar, 237km
Course: hilly first part and flat second part of the stage
The longest stage of this year’s Tour of Croatia saw 8 riders breaking clear after around 50 kilometers of racing. Despite Leszek Pluciński’s early attempt, the escape didn’t include a member of Polkowice-based squad.
Stephan Rabitsch (Team Felbermayr – Simplon Wels), Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy), Oleksandr Polivoda (Kolss Cycling Team), Ziga Groselj (Adria Mobil), Adriano Brogi, Davide Pacchiardo, Marco Tizza (all GM Europa Ovini) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani – CSF) went away, gaining nearly 5 minutes of advantage. Even though the stage was extremely long – 237 kilometers – the peloton never eased up the pace, making sure that the escapees are within the reach.
With around 40km to go Łukasz Owsian was involved in a harmless crash and quickly returned to the bunch.
The move was neutralized on the final circuit, with just 4km remaining. The tricky finale in Zadar was quite dangerous and caused few riders to crash. Among them was Nikolay Mihaylov. He was rushed to hospital for x-ray, to check if there are any fractures in his hip and thigh. Stage 1 winner, Sacha Modolo and GC leader, Kristijan Durasek (both UAE Team Emirates) weren’t lucky either, as the latter lost 2,5 minutes and the leader jersey.
After the split in the bunch and a hectic sprint Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani-CSF) claimed the win, beating Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Riccardo Minali (Astana).
Sprinter-less CCC Sprandi Polkowice didn’t battle for top places and due to neutral zone in the last 3km, were given the same time as the winner. Because of Durasek’s bad luck, Jan Hirt and Felix Grossschartner advanced to 3rd and 4th overall respectively. Jaime Roson (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) took over the leader jersey.