The longest and arguably the hardest stage, which featured five categorized climbs, got off to a fast start with multiple breakaway attempts and CCC Team’s riders were among those who tried to go clear.
Amaro Antunes attacked on the first categorized climb and was second at the top but, his move didn’t stick and eventually the breakaway was formed on the descent. It included three riders who opened up a nine-minute lead after 70 kilometers of the 226.6-kilometer course, but the peloton kept everything under control.
The gap was slowly reduced and with 50 kilometers to go it was down to only two minutes. Eventually, the breakaway was brought back inside the final 20 kilometers and the stage came down to a sprint. The finale featured some cobbles and twisty roads so, it was quite a technical finish and didn’t favor pure sprinters. Gradek took advantage of it and sprinted to 8th place, keeping his top-five spot in the General Classification.
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“Today we took on the longest stage of the race and what made racing even harder was the weather since it was raining most of the day and the average temperature was only five degrees.
I felt well throughout the entire stage and my teammates did a great job of protecting me and helping me get a good position for the finale.
I finished in eighth place, which is a nice result. Me and Gijs, who is also fast in the sprint, were supposed to fight at the finish. I’m not a sprinter but, I’m often the last man who leads out the sprinter so I took over the responsibility to battle for the top spots. The technical finale suited me, with cobbles and lots of turns at the end.”
Tour de Slovaquie
Stage 3: Bardejov > Ružomberok (226,6km)
Top 3: 1. Eduard Michael Grosu (Delko Marseille Provence) 2. Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 3. Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ)
CCC Team Top 3: 8. Kamil Gradek