Wind was the biggest factor on Stage 3 of Tour of Turkey and Lotto-Soudal riders took full advantage of it. It was a bad day for the Polkowice-squad, as its riders missed out on the decisive move early on, didn’t make the first group and came in with big time loses.
On paper the stage looked relatively easy and it seemed like that would be the first opportunity for the pure sprinters in the race. There was one climb located in the middle of the course and the final 50 kilometers were mostly flat.
The reality was much different though.
Strong wind and rain made the field split early on. A 24-man group emerged in the lead and none of CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders managed to make it into that pack. It included all of Lotto-Soudal and four of Caja Rural – Seguros RGA riders among others. There were four top GC guys up front – Pello Bilbao, Jose Gonçalves, David Arroyo (all Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)and Nikita Stalnov (Astana City). They pushed the pace hard in the first hour of racing, averaging 52km/h!
Davide Rebellin and Sylwester Szmyd were riding in the bunch (alongside race leader, Przemysław Niemiec), behind around 30-man chasing group with Leszek Pluciński and Mateusz Taciak. None of the groups was able to reduce the gap. The leaders had over 5 minutes of advantage over the chasers with 50 kilometers to go and nearly 13 minutes on the peloton.
Later on the lead would increase even more and with 20 kilometers to go Lotto-Soudal accelerated drastically, leaving almost everyone behind. Broeckx, Dockx, Frison, Greipel, Henderson and Boeckmans, who represented the Belgian team were leading the race and only Cecchin and Toffali from Team Roth were able to follow.
Lotto-Soudal turned the stage into the team time trial. Andre Greipel finished his teammate’s work and sprinted to victory. He bested Alberto Cechin and Kris Boeckmans took third.
Mateusz Taciak was the team’s top finisher, coming in 15:09 behind the winner, in 48th place. Szmyd and Rebellin lost over 25 minutes. The final general classification is out of reach now, but “riders in orange” will now try to get a stage win in the upcoming days.