In the final meters, Menten overtook Dutchman Mick van Dijk (Jumbo-Visma), and 3rd place was taken by Norwegian Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X). At the same time, excellent placement was achieved by the Croatian cyclist Josip Rumac (Androni Giocattoli), who remained one step closer to the podium in fourth place, reports HRT.
With a stage victory, Menten also took the lead in the overall standings with three seconds ahead of Skaarset, and four ahead of third-placed Van Dijk.
After a nervous start to the stage due to a very early first passing goal in Rogoznica, just eight kilometers after the beginning, which was won by Norwegian Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X), an escape was formed in which five cyclists participated – Spaniards Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural) and Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel), Italian Davide De Cassan (Friuli), German Robert Jageler (P & S Metalltechnik) and Pole Adam Stachowiak (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski).
The five had the biggest advantage of six minutes before the peloton started to catch them. Then, on the first ascent of the day, two Spaniards stood out from the leading group on Dupce, and Barrenetxe won the mountain goal in front of Azparren.
On the descent towards Makarska, three cyclists caught up with the Spanish duo, and five cyclists passed through Makarska together before the final lap of 47.3 kilometers. Their advantage was 1:42 minutes ahead of the peloton.
That the leading five cooperated harmoniously is also shown by the results of passing goals in Makarska and Podgora, only nine kilometers away. In Makarska, Jageler won the passing goal in front of Stachowiak and Azparren, and in Podgora Barrenetxe in front of De Cassan and Azparren.
Until the southernmost point of this year’s CRO Race in Živogošće, only Barrenetxe, Azparren, and Stachowiak remained in the lead. The main group reached them about 20 kilometers before the finish.
At the beginning of the last ascent of the day, the overall group leader, Dutchman Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma), broke out at the head of the group to attack his teammate and compatriot Sam Oomen. Unfortunately, the only one who could follow Oomen’s attack was Norwegian Torstein Traen (Uno-X). The duo remained in the lead until the peak of the climb won by Traen, and the Norwegian managed to maintain a slight advantage over the group until entering Makarska. However, in the end, the group still caught him.
Traen took the lead for the best climber and will wear a green jersey in the fourth stage, which will run from Zadar to Crikvenica (197 kilometers) on Friday, while Kooij kept the blue jersey for the best sprinter.
Croatian cyclist Fran Miholjević (Team Friuli) finished the stage in 48th place.
Upcoming CRO Race stages:
October 1, 4th stage: Zadar – Crikvenica (197 km)
October 2, 5th stage: Rabac / Labin – Opatija (137.5 km)
October 3, 6th stage: Samobor – Zagreb (156.5 km)
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