With only two category three climbs on the menu, stage three was most likely going to end with a bunch finish and the three-man group, which went away as soon as the flag dropped, was never a concern for the peloton.
The trio opened up a six-minute lead but, it was reduced to only two minutes with 70 kilometers to go and, eventually, the last man standing was reeled in with 39 kilometers to go, after the last categorized hill.
From that point on it was all together and the bunch was going at a high speed on the downhill or flat finale towards the finish line in Alicante.
CCC Team was very attentive in the closing kilometers making sure that Sajnok was well-positioned for the finish and, in the end, the 22-year old sprinter was able to get in the mix and sprint to ninth place behind Bennett.
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“The finale was very fast and quite chaotic. The road was winding and narrow in some places and we had a tailwind so, the speed was getting very high. My teammates did a great job of delivering me into a good position and Fran was always next to me to help if I faded and needed somebody to bring me back to the front. In the end, I think I launched my sprint too late. We were going very fast and I went with 200 meters to go. At one point I was blocked by another rider, had to slow down slightly and start all over. I’m upset at myself that I launched the sprint too late because the legs were there and I felt that I was even capable of finishing in the top three. I’m disappointed to have missed out on this opportunity. I’m aiming at more than only the top ten and I hope I’ll be able to be in the mix tomorrow also.”
“On the second categorized climb, I fell behind a little but, I believe I had things under control. I didn’t want to go over the limit so, I kept my own pace together with Paweł Bernas and we were able to get back to the group on the descent.”
Stage 3: Ibi. Ciudad del Juguete > Alicante, 188km
Top 3: 1. Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) 2. Edward Theuns (Trek – Segafredo) 3. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton – SCOTT)
CCC Team Top 3: 9. Szymon Sajnok 13. Jonas Koch 27. Francisco Ventoso