It was the queen stage today, the hardest one with a climb to Učka, and the Croatian cyclists did great.
Riccardo Zoidl, an Austrian from Trek-Segafredo took the queen’s stage of Tour of Croatia on April 22, 2016, a 122-kilometre span from Crikvenica to Vojak peak of Mount Učka, which sported 3000 metres of total altitude. Croatia’s own Matija Kvasina (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) took the second place in front of Victor de la Parte from CCC Sprandi Polkowice, thus taking the overall lead in the race.
It didn’t take long for the race leader Giacomo Nizzolo and fellow sprinters like Mark Cavendish to be left behind from the peloton on the lumpy start to end at the Vojak summit.
Eight riders made the breakaway of the day, but on the 22km final climb, the breakaway was caught by a peloton. Felix Grosschartner put in a dig with 4km to go, but Riccardo Zoidl shut him down and kept the pace high, splitting a small group off the front with Victor De La Parte and Croatian Matija Kvasina. They were chased by Jesper Hansen and Radoslav Rogina.
Hansen left Rogina behind and made it across to the three leaders as they neared the crest of the climb, but soon Zoidl put in the fatal blow next to the rocky cliff face near the top. Kvasina held up the attack of De La Parte and finished in second place.
Kvasina said: ‘I can only be grateful for my team which proved to be very cohesive today. A special thank you goes to Kiril Pozdjakov, who performed amazingly for me in the stage finale. As the lead rider in the general classification, this night I’ll be sleeping well’.
Kvasina, though, wasn’t the only one who stirred up the home crowd, as Radoslav Rogina, another Croatian, finished fifth. Danish rider Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff) took the fourth place. The winner’s stage clock stopped ticking at 3 hours, 17 minutes and 4 seconds. Kvasina and de la Porte were 28 seconds behind, Hansen 34, Rogina 48.
Tomorrow is the 40.3-kilometre stage of team time-trial from Poreč to Umag, an attractive stage that will suit well organised and experienced teams.
Tour of Croatia, Stage four results
1. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo 3:17:04
2. Matija Kvasina (Cro) Synergy Baku +28″
3. Victor de la Parte (Spa) CCC Sprandi Polkowice +28″
4. Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff Team +34″
5. Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Adria Mobil +48″
Tour of Croatia, General Classification
1. Matija Kvasina (Cro) Synergy Baku 18:53:51
2. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo +19
3. Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Adria Mobil +26
4. Victor de la Parte (Spa) CCC Sprandi Polkowice +53
5. Felix Grosschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi Polkowice +56