October 6, 2019 – British cyclist Adam Yates, a member of the Australian Mitchelton-Scott team, won the fifth stage of the CRO Race from Rabac to the 136-kilometer ascent to the top of Platak, and has also taken the overall lead.
HRT reports that Yates hit the finish line at 3:40:01, which was 10 seconds ahead of his closest companions, second-placed Italian David Villella (Astana) and third-placed Spaniard Victor De la Parte (CCC).
Before the final, sixth stage, which will run from Sveta Nedelja to St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb (155km), Yates is 15 seconds faster than Villella in second, and 17 seconds ahead of De la Parte in third.
“This was a stage that suited me; the team drove it well and prepared the ground for me to win. This is my first time performing in Croatia, and I am very pleased, the roads are excellent, the organization is top-notch and I hope to celebrate the overall victory tomorrow,” said Yates.
With this triumph, Yates took the overall lead and the green t-shirt for the best climber, while the blue t-shirt for the best sprinter was kept by teammate Australian Alexander Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott). The best young cyclist and the white shirt was awarded to Kazakhstani cyclist Vadim Pronski (Astana).
Croatian veteran, 40-year-old Radoslav Rogina (Adria Mobil), in the day before the final stage, finished 10th overall, 1:50 minutes behind Yates.
The fifth leg of the CRO Race began in Rabac, close to the Valamar Hotel Complex, and started when riders arrived at the foot of the old town of Labin, where the first target was located. Slovenian champion Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida) came first, ahead of Australian Benjamin Hill (Ljubljana Gusto Santic) and Dutchman Lars van den Berg (Metec-TKH).
After about 20 kilometers, a group of 11 drivers stood out from the peloton, none of whom were dangerous in the overall order. However, at no point did the 11-man lead manage to gain an advantage of more than three minutes, and their escape was already completed at the beginning of the climb to Ucka, 70 kilometers before the finish.
The flight for the overall victory had already started in Ucka, and in the second half of the 10km climb were favorites Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Italian David Villella (Astana), Spaniard Victor De la Parte ( CCC), Frenchman Alexis Guerin (Delco Marseille), Australian Nathan Earle (Israel Cycling Academy) and Slovene Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida). Still, De la Parte’s teammate Riccardo Zoidl (CCC) moved to the front at Ucka Nature Park, ahead of Slovene Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida) and Australian Callum Scott (Mitchelton-Scott).
However, during the descent from Ucka and on the way to Opatija, the favorites slowed their pace and allowed several riders to return to the leading group. A small lull in the fight for the overall win was used by Spanish veteran Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy), who pushed to first in Opatija ahead of Kazakhstani Vadim Pronsky (Astana) and Frenchman Alexis Guerin (Delco Marseille). By the next target in Rijeka, a group of three cyclists was formed, and the first to hit Korzo was Slovenian Grega Bole (Bahrain-Merida).
The sprinter Bole soon led the group, and Pacher and Plaza managed to take the road toward Platak with about half a minute ahead of the peloton. Neither of them remained in the lead for long, and immediately after Plaza was swarmed by the main group, his Swiss teammate Matteo Badilatti attacked.
Badilatti’s adventure lasted only until five kilometers before the finish line when the favorite for the overall victory, Adam Yates, decided to justify his status as the lead. Yates attacked forcefully and in just 200 meters, produced a 20-second advantage over his closest competitors. The hunt for Yates started by Novak, but in the last kilometer, he relented, and Villella, De la Parte and Rolland caught up.
The sixth, final stage (154 km) ends on Sunday in Zagreb. This year, Sveta Nedelja was chosen as the start, after which cyclists will head to Zagreb, Velika Gorica, Dugo Selo, Vrbovec and Sveti Ivan Zelina, and return to Zagreb through the eastern part of Zagreb County to finish at St. Mark’s Square.
1. Adam Yates (VB/MTS) 3:40:01
2. Davide Villella (ITA/AST) +10 sec
3. Victor de la Parte Gonzalez (ŠPA/CCC)
4. Pierre Rolland (VCB/FRA)
5. Domen Novak (SLO/TBM) +11
6. Nathan Earle (AUS/ICA) +17
1. Adam Yates (VB/MTS)
2. Davide Villella (ITA/AST) +15 sec
3. Victor de la Parte Gonzalez (ŠPA/CCC) +17
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