Grzegorz Stepniak claimed his first victory in the season by winning stage 3 of Race of Solidarity and the Olympians. He was the fastest men in Kielce, after covering 160 kilometers.
CCC Polsat Polkowice showed off their strength and desire to win already in the first hour of racing, when they lead the chase and caught the breakaway with Artur Detko, Arkadiusz Owsian, Pawel Bernas and other 5, foreign riders. After those escapees were reeled in another group was formed in the front. This time it was Wojciech Migdal (Wibatech-Fuji Zory) and Niels Goeree (Metec) who managed to build almost 3 minute advantage. It was not enough for them to go all the way to the finish and they shared the fate of their predecessors.
Next move was made by Vitaliy Popkov (ISD), who went solo and created 40 second lead with 23 kilometers to go. Alessandro Pettiti tried to bridge the gap, but sprinters’ teams didn’t want to let them go for the victory and brought them back to the peleton.
For the third time in the row the winner came from the bunch sprint. Grzegorz Stepniak was the strongest man on that day, and beat two Metec riders – Remco Te Brake and Johim Ariesen.
I hadn’t expected that it will be such a good day – said Grzegorz Stepniak afterwards. –Lately my legs were not as strong as I would like to, but I think that this win was a breakthrough for me. It was that kind of sprint that I like, with a turn 150 meters before the line. My teammates did a great job by stretching the field and that helped me a lot. I felt great power in my legs and I knew that I have to take advantage of it. I takled the last turn in 2nd place and after that I gave all I had. I’m very excited to take that win and I want to thank all my teammates, who made this success possibile.
Kamil Gradek maintained the lead in the GC and will protect it on the stage 4, from Nowy Sącz to Krosno (193km). Tomorrow the race is heading into more hilly terrain and the sprinters will have to pass the torch to the general classification contenders.
Results of stage 4, Przedborz – Kielce 160,3 km
1. Grzegorz Stępniak (CCC Polsat Polkowice) 3:41:38
2. Remco Te Brake (Metec)
3. Johim Ariesen (Metec)
41. Bartłomiej Matysiak
50. Tomasz Marczyński
55. Maciej Paterski
57. Adrian Honkisz
58. Jacek Morajko