The Tour of Poland 3rd stage ended in yet another sprint finish and this time it was Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) who was first across the line. Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) was 2nd and Luka Mezgec (Orica-BikeExchange) completed the stage podium.
It was a difficult day in Poland as riders had to to contend with a 250km stage held in cold, wet and windy conditions. The long distance didn’t stop riders from attacking early on and Adrien Niyonshuti was again part of the action, jumping into a 20 rider breakaway. The peloton weren’t all that pleased to have such a large group out front so they kept the pace high until the cooperation disintegrated up front and they were reeled back in.
A more manageable group of 5 riders then went clear and the peloton were happy to give them a 4-minute advantage. Although the course was consistently undulating, there were no big climbs that could make a huge impact on the race. This left a number of teams interested in keeping things together as much as possible for another sprint.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were happy with this situation as Kristian Sbaragli has showed he has some good sprinting form at the moment. Unfortunately it was not plain sailing for our African Team as Sbaragli and Youcef Reguigui crashed with 60km to go. It was quite a fall Sbaragli took but our Italian was able to bounce back and make it into the front group in time for the finale.
With the breakaway caught at 10km to go, it was again Etixx-Quickstep and Orica-BikeExchange leading out the sprint finish. With a big hole in his shoe, Sbaragli was able to freelance off the LottoNL-Jumbo train to come around the outside of the peloton and take a good 6th place on the stage.
Jens Zemke – Sport Director
Stage 3 was a pretty tough stage at 240km plus the 10km that were neutralised. There was some very strong wind of around 6/7 meters per second particularly at the start, it made it super hard. Adrien was again in a big breakaway but some teams were not represented in the move so they brought that attack back. 5 riders then made a new attack and the situation was more controlled. Our boys stayed safe in the bunch until the final 60km where there was a lot of action. We had Kristian and Youcef involved in a crash and at this point in the race it was really fast. After the 3 climbs we made it into the front group with 3 guys and Kristian sprinted to 6th place. It was another top 10 against a number of strong sprinters so chapeau and well done to the team.