Jan Tratnik showcased great fight, tactical instinct and power in stage 3 of Skoda Tour de Luxembourg. With help of his strong team, he won three intermediate sprints and moved up to 2nd overall.
Info: June 2nd, stage 3, Eschweiler – Differdange, 163,8km
CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were flying right from the start, as Jan Tratnik won first intermediate sprint, gaining 3 bonus seconds, Paweł Cieślik took first categorized climb of the day, while Amaro Antunes made it into the breakaway and won two following KOMs.
The group with Portuguese was working hard up the road, but since he was only 27s down in GC, peloton were making sure, that the gap never goes over 3 minutes. The power of the chase was strengthen drastically with around 80km to go and Antunes’s escape was brought back in 25km further.
It was not the end of CCC Sprandi Polkowice aggressive ride in the front, as Jan Tratnik pulled away. First few other riders joined him, but in a climb he kept dropping people one by one. Eventually he was left solo in the lead and won another two intermediate sprints, closing in on his rivals in GC. In total he gained 9 seconds and at one point was the virtual leader.
After accomplishing the mission, Tratnik sat up and returned to the field. In the group he could count on almost entire CCC Sprandi Polkowice team. They were working hard at the head of the pack and Jonas Koch was responding to dangerous moves.
At the end of the day it came down to a sprint from 15-man group, which included Tratnik and Koch. Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) claimed the win and became new GC leader. Tratnik finished 12th and moved up to 2nd overall. Before the final stage he is 7 seconds behind Italian.
Today was the queen stage. I felt very strong from the very beginning, where the pace was high. I won first sprint, and after that I was thinking only about final laps and how to get as much seconds as possible. So when we arrived to the circuit, I attacked with 4 other riders. I took another sprint, and then in second lap I went solo to claim another one. I had everything under control. I knew that if I spend too much energy in those moves, I can pay for it on the last climb. Thus, I decided to wait for the peloton and stay with the best on the climb.
In the sprint I didn’t have much luck. It was dangerous, because it was mostly downhill. Unfortunately I was closed and I couldn’t contest the finish. I’m happy to have moved to 2nd place in general standings and I’m proud of my teammates, who helped me achieve this. They supported me throughout the entire stage and everybody believed in me.