Tour of Croatia #3: Mark Cavendish places 4th in tricky sprint finish

Mark Cavendish 1 Croatia Stage 1

Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) won his 2nd stage of the Tour of Croatia after sprinting to victory at today’s 3rd stage into Sibenik. Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems) and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) snapped up the minor stage podium placings respectively.

Today’s stage saw riders take on 190km, starting in Makarska. The route was undulating all day and 6 riders were able to get away on one of the early climbs of the stage. With Mark Cavendish in the race leader’s jersey, our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka squad took responsibility for setting the pace in the peloton.

A maximum gap of 5 minutes was reached by the 6 leaders but Jay Thomson did an incredible job to almost single handily reel them back in. The South African powerhouse tapped out a consistently high tempo which saw the gap disintegrate to just 1 minute with 10km to go.

Our African Team led the peloton onto the finishing circuit but when the race hit a small climb with 6km to go Trek-Segafredo came to the head of the race. At one point it looked like the break may just hold on to decide the stage but it wasn’t to be their day. The catch was made with 1.5km to go, and as the early leaders came back into the bunch it caused some disorder at the head of the race for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

Mark Renshaw and Cavendish had to come from a long way back in the final kilometer and with a left-right-left corner combination coming between 500m and 100m to go, there was no real chance to get back into a race winning position. Cavendish came across the line in 4th position and subsequently, relinquished his race leader’s jersey to Nizzolo.

Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It was another tough day in the office for the boys. They were working really well from the start of the stage. We didn’t want to have any riders from World Tour teams in the break today and no more than 7/8 riders. So eventually it was 6 riders that went away, we gave them no more than 6 minutes. From the feedzone, Trek and Tinkoff gave us 1 rider each and together we worked well. Jay was very good and riding really strongly once again. Also, Nathan Haas and Nic Dougall were doing some good work so I am happy with all the guys. Over the last 3 days they have given good support to Cavendish. Coming to the final there was a bit of chaos in the final 1.5km when the break was caught. For that reason, there was a bit of disorganisation and Mark wasn’t able to keep a good position. He was a bit too far back for the sprint, he still sprinted well but the positioning was the reason for not getting a better result. The team showed they were strong, committed and they are working really well together so I am sure we still have some more good results to come in the next days of this race.

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