The 3rd race of the Mallorca Challenge had Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) take a solo win ahead of a select group. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) won the sprint for 2nd with Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) in 3rd.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had a really positive day, being part of the action from start to finish. First up Johann van Zyl was part of the early action, winning the sprint prime which earned him the Meta Volante prize on the day. Then it was Daniel Teklehaimanot who made it into the 23 rider break of the day.
The big break only got a maximum of 2 minutes’ advantage over the Sky led peloton as they kept a high tempo going all race. With the pace on, the big lead group was kept in check but Cancellara who was part of the lead group, took advantage of the lead they did have to ride away on the descent of the Puig Major.
As the remnants of the break were caught, Cancellara pushed on with a whittled down peloton chasing at 1 minute behind and 10km still to go, this included the final 4km cat 3 Col de Blleda climb. Going over the top of the climb there were only 14 chasers, who came within 15″ of Cancellara but that was all he needed at the start of the descent to solo to victory.
Our African Team were able to have 3 riders go over the top of the final climb of the day in the select chase group that sprinted for 2nd place. Merhawi Kudus was first across the line for us in 6th, Serge Pauwels was 8th and Kanstantsin Siutsou was 11th. These results saw Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka win the team prize for today’s race.
Serge Pauwels – Rider
This was the hardest race of the Mallorca Challenge, not only on paper but also really hard racing. It was full gas the whole day with a lot of climbing. In the long breakaway we had Daniel which was good but the whole time the race was never over as Sky was taking control. The race was made by the high tempo just eliminating riders one by one. Finally, in the last part of the race when everyone was caught except Cancellara, we had Kosta, Merhawi and Myself still in the front. We sprinted for 2nd place but you could see everyone was on their limit. Personally I am happy with the shape that I am in because I had a really nice winter and it’s good to get that confirmation in the race.