Aftern an impressive chase, Marcin Mrożek got into the breakaway of the day, as Felix Großschartner and Łukasz Owsian finished among the strongest in Stage 3 of Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol.
There were 158 kilometers to cover on the third day of racing in Andalusia. On paper 4 KOMs, undulating terrain and a flat finale looked perfect for the escapees. As it turned out, the reality was quite different.
It was a frantic and filled with breakaway attempts, start of the stage. First it was a 9-man group that pulled away, but the peloton decided to neutralize that move. Soon after a new break was formed and it included some of the names that were present also in the previous escape – Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff), Markel Irizar (Trek – Segafredo), Bert-Jan Lindeman (Team LottoNL – Jumbo), Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team), Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) and Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-RusVelo).
Marcin Mrożek didn’t want to let the breakaway go away without a CCC Sprandi Polkowice representative in it, so he decided to chase it down. After a solo effort, he managed to bridge the gap. Later also Mirko Tedeschi (Southeast – Venezuela) and Jorge Cubero (Burgos BH) joined the leaders making a 9-man group.
At that point the escapees had 4 minutes of advantage. It was controlled by Movistar and the Spanish team brought it down to 1:20, with 40 kilometers remaining.
Eventually Mrożek and the rest of his fellow escapees were reeled in with 24 kilometers to go, before the cat. 2 climb to Puerto del Valle. Movistar made a selection on the ascent, shattering the field to only 40-50 riders. Among them was Felix Großschartner and Łukasz Owsian. Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) attacked from the pack and was followed by Omar Fraile (Dimension Data). The duo merged with 8 kilometers to go, but the bunch had them in sight.
Navarro and Fraile collaborated well and worked hard to hold off the bunch, but the chasers were ruthless. They got caught in the final kilometer and it came down to a sprint. It was won by Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff), who outperformed Ben Swift (Sky) and Raymond Krener (Roompot – Oranje Peloton).
Großschartner and Owsian came in in 16th and 20th respectively. Heading into tomorrow’s individual time trial Austrian is the highest ranked “rider in orange”, in 18th place, with the same time as the leader’s jersey wearer, Swift.