The 3rd stage of the Ster ZLM Toer saw a repeat victor as Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) made it two in two when he sprinted to the win today. Moreno Hofland (Lotto-Jumbo) placed 2nd while Edward Theuns (Topsport-Vlaanderen) collected the 3rd place prize.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung made its presence felt during today’s stage with a number of early attacks. Gerald Ciolek was among the initial attackers but the peloton wasn’t letting much go early on. Eventually after 45km of racing, a group of 9 riders jumped clear including our very Kristian Sbaragli.
Kristian and his breakaway mates combined to open up a 4’00” lead over the peloton before the chase came from Lotto-Soudal back in the main bunch. The break lost 2 riders along the way as they also tried to up the tempo in the hope of staying away. Kristian showed he had good strength today by driving the break with real intent. As the race came onto the final finishing circuits with 16km to go, the gap of 1’00” would not be enough to hold off the fast charging peloton.
With 5km to go, it was apparent that the 190km stage would end in a mass sprint. Gerald Ciolek would be our man for the big bunch kick and after our African team rallied around our German star, Gerald would go on to cross the line in 15th place in the chaotic finale.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
Today’s stage was a good one for a break to possibly stay away so I gave it a go as I was feeling good. It was a pity that the final 50km was straight into a headwind so it made it easier for the group to catch us. I was certainly in with a great shot to take the victory if we stayed away but I guess that’s the gamble you take being in the break.