The first and longest stage of the sixth edition of the CRO Race has been completed. The 237-kilometer stage started from Osijek with the finish line in Varaždin, reports HRT.
German Phil Bauhaus, a member of the Bahrain Victorious team, justified his status as one of the favorites to win and was faster than Dutchman Olav Kooi (Jumbo-Vism) in second and Norwegian Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno-X) in third.
In the second stage, which will take place on Wednesday from Slunj to Otočac, Bauhaus will take the red shirt of the leader in the overall standings. This is his ninth victory in 2021.
“I positioned myself well before the finish. My team did a great job because it was a windy stage. I expect that the stage winner will be decided by the sprint on Wednesday, although there will be many more climbs ahead of us,” said Bauhaus.
The longest stage of this year’s race started as expected. Very soon after the start, a group of five drivers was formed, which stood out from the peloton and created a significant advantage. Among them was Croatian cyclist Fran Miholjevic (Team Friuli), accompanied by Poles Pawel Franczak (Voster ATS Team) and Marceli Boguslawski (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski), Italian Mattia Viel (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), and German Tim Oelke (Metalltechnik).
At the first passing goal to Slatina after 84 kilometers, the Frenchman was first ahead of Viel and Boguslawski.
But the four “World Tour” teams competing in the race did not allow the advantage to grow too much, and the maximum difference was 4:45 minutes.
Fifty kilometers before the finish line, Boguslawski stood out from the leading group, who had a minute advantage before the only ascent in the stage in Ludbreški Vinogradi. By the top of the climb, Boguslawski had a 15-second lead over second-placed Miholjevic and third-placed Franczak and became the first green jersey holder at this year’s CRO Race.
On the descent towards Ludbreg, Miholjević overtook Boguslawski and was the first to cross the passing goal in Ludbreg. As expected, soon after the second passing goal, 28 kilometers before the finish in Varaždin, the peloton caught the last two cyclists who spent more than 200 kilometers at the head of the race.
“The team plan for this stage was to try to get into an escape. I was the first to try, and that escape immediately succeeded,” said 19-year-old Miholjević, who has never mastered such a long section as he had on Tuesday.
After the original escape, two Euskaltel drivers, Xabier Azparren and Luis Angel Mate, stood out from the leading group. They managed to hold out in front of the peloton up to eight kilometers before the finish line.
The best-placed Croatian cyclist was Josip Rumac, who finished the stage in 14th place. The young Fran Miholjević drove an excellent first stage and was first in the bonus sprint and second in the mountain passing goal. He finished the stage in 54th place.
On Wednesday, the second stage will run from Slunj to Otočac in the length of 187 kilometers.
CRO Race 1st stage results:
1. Phil BAUHAUS TBV 5h52’06”
2. Olav KOOIJ* TJV
3. Kristoffer HALVORSEN UXT
4. Antonio ANGULO SAMPEDRO ANTONIO EUS
5. Mick VAN DIJKE* TJV
6. Itamar EINHORN ISN
7. Michel ASCHENBRENNER* PUS
8. Sanz Gotzon MARTIN EUS
9. Milan MENTEN BWB
10. David PER ADR
1. Phil BAUHAUS TBV 5h51’56”
2. Olav KOOIJ* TJV +4”
3. Kristoffer HALVORSEN UXT +5”
4. Markus HOELGAARD UXT +7”
5. Fran MIHOLJEVIĆ* CTF
6. Marceli BOGUSLAWSKI MSP
7. Pawel FRANCZAK VOS
8. Anders SKAARSETH UXT +8”
9. Stephen WILLIAMS TBV +9”
10. Antonio ANGULO SAMPEDRO ANTONIO EUS +10”
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