October 4, 2019 – Kazakhstani cyclist Yevgeny Gidich, a member of the Astana team, won the third stage of the CRO Race cycling tour, which started in Okrug and ended in Makarska on Thursday but was shortened from 165 to 66 kilometers due to bad weather.
HRT reports that the Astana member won the final sprint with a time of 1:32:21 ahead of Slovenian Grega Bole (TBM Bahrain Merida) and Australian Alexander Edmondson (MTS Mitchelton Scott).
Gidich also took the lead in the overall standings with six seconds ahead of second-placed Edmondson.
Edmondson took the blue shirt for best sprinter, the new leader for the best young rider is German Georg Zimmermann (CCC), while Austrian Markus Wildauer (Tirol-KTM) retains the green t-shirt for best climber.
Of the original 165 kilometers in the third stage, which was driven entirely through Split-Dalmatia County, only about 60 kilometers could be completed due to bad weather. Unfortunately, at the start of the third stage, not one of the favorites for the overall victory before the start of the CRO Race could be seen. Namely, Slovenian Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), had to retire due to injuries sustained in the fall after the end of the second stage in Zadar.
Shortly after the start in Okrug, the stage was neutralized for three hours due to high winds. Drivers were transferred by team cars and buses to Baska Voda where the race continued, and the cyclists completed the last 47 kilometers.
Even before the race was interuppteed, six cyclists stood out from the peloton, creating just over two minutes of an advantage. Among them was the leading duo in the standings for the best climber, Austrian Markus Wildauer (Tyrol KTM) and Australian Benjamin Hill (Ljubljana Gusto Santic), Austrians Stephan Rabitsch (Felbermayr Simplon) and Dominik Hrinkow (Hrinkow Advarics), Dutchman Lars van den Berg (Metec-TKH) and German Robert Jageler (P&S Metalltechnik).
After the restart, the leading six managed to retain the 1:30 minute lead until the first finish line on the Makarska Riva. Still, already in Podgora, that advantage fell below a minute – and already in the first kilometers of ascent to Biokovo, Wildauer dropped from the leading six. Hill soon followed, with only Rabitsch and Van den Berg at the helm. Rabitsch was the first to cross the second category climb at Biokovo, while Van der Berg was captured by a group of favorites just 10 meters before the summit. The second place on the climb was taken by Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), and third by David Villel (Astana).
In the last 10 kilometers, on the downhill towards Makarska, the leading group of cyclists increased from seven to almost 30, and the fastest in the final sprint was Gidich.
The fourth stage will run on the 155-kilometer route from Starigrad-Paklenica to Crikvenica on Friday.
To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.