For the second consecutive time Łukasz Owsian made his presence known at Tour de Pologne, getting into the break. Also Maciej Paterski was very aggressive late in the stage.
Stage 3 from Zawiercie to Nowy Sącz was the longest of the one week event, with 240 kilometers to cover. Not only the distance was going to make the race hard, but also up-and-down profile and three categorized climbs inside the final 70km. The top of the first ascent cat. 1 (in Wysokie) was located with 60km to go and was followed by two cat. 2 climbs – in Mystków and Klinów. From the last hill’ summit it was 28km to the finish.
Jarosław Marycz approached the stage with the pink jersey, of the leader of Kings of the Mountains classification. He was also one of many attackers early in the stage, alongside Michał Paluta, who tried to break clear. The scenario of the beginning of the race was quite similar to yesterday’s, as some GC favorites tried to make a move to contest intermediate sprint at 78km mark, but eventually they were not let go.
The similarities to stage 2 didn’t end there, since for the second consecutive time Łukasz Owsian made the escape. He was riding in the front with Matej Mohorić (Lampre-Merida), Kamil Gradek (VERVA Activejet), Przemysław Kasperkiewicz (Polish National Team) and Sergey Nikolaev (Gazprom-Rusvelo).
Despite long distance ahead and good cooperation in the break, the gap was never too large. Etixx-Quick Step made sure to keep the escapees on a 5-minute leash and controlled the pace.
Kamil Gradek took first KOM of the day, cat. 1, taking over the Kings of the Mountains classification lead from Marycz. Owsian was 5th at the top. He was also 2nd at cat. 2 climb. At that point the breakaway was shattered, as Mohoric was in the front alone, was chased by CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider and Gradek was a little bit further back.
On the last categorized hill, short but extremely steep, Paterski decided to launch an attack and was joined by Nicholas Roche (Team Sky) and Ruben Fernandez (Movistar). “Rider in orange” crested the summit in first place and later also Davide Formolo (Cannondale) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) bridged across. They were putting a lot of effort, but the bunch was not going easy either. Paterski’s group got caught with 16km remaining.
The final 15km saw some attacks and one of them, with 1,5km to go, came again from Paterski. He was brought back in at the 1km banner and it came down to a bunch gallop. Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) claimed a win, ahead of Moreno Hofland (Team LottoNL – Jumbo) and Luka Mezgec (ORICA-BikeExchange). Felix Grossschartner was the team’s top finisher, taking 27th.