RZESZOW, Poland, July 30, 2013 – Norway’s former world road race
champion Thor Hushovd won the third stage of the Tour of Poland on Tuesday
after the peloton covered 226km between Krakow and Rzeszow after two opening
stages in Italy.
Hushovd powered his way past Mark Renshaw (Belkin Pro Cycling) in the final 100 meters and held off a charging Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) – who finished second – to earn his fourth victory of the season. “The wind was coming from the left, so I knew he (Renshaw) would close the door to the right,” Hushovd said. “So I was already thinking about this and knew I would have to go left. Taylor Phinney did a good job and the whole team did really well. I’m really happy to get this win. I was quite confident today and the team had a lot of confidence in me – so that really helped.” The victory was the BMC Racing Team’s fourth in the past nine days, adding to two stage wins and the overall title by Greg Van Avermaet at the Tour de Wallonie last week. Hushovd’s previous wins include Stage 1 of the Tour du Haut Var, the Norwegian road championship and Stage 3 of the Tour of Austria. After celebrating with his five teammates, the past world road champion was already looking ahead to more opportunities. “I think tomorrow there’s going to be another bunch sprint,” he said. “There are also a couple of harder stages that might be good for me. So there still might be some interesting days to come.”
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said it was satisfying to see the squad work well on a long, rainy, wind-swept stage. “Marco Pinotti and Mathias Frank did most of the chasing of the breakaway and I was afraid maybe we did too much work,” Baldato said. “But as we saw in the final, we were all good, with Dominik Nerz, Ivan Santaromita and Taylor Phinney doing the lead-out.” Phinney, who was the last teammate to provide escort for the Norwegian road champion, said he had never done a full-fledged lead-out for a sprint before. “But I felt great coming into the last kilometers and even put in a bit of a dig to catch the breakaway,” he said. “Robert Wagner of Belkin pulled off with 800 meters to go and then I gave it everything I had left in order to get Thor to 300 or 200 meters to go and he was perfectly positioned right behind Renshaw.” Phinney said competing with six-man squads in Poland, rather than the traditional eight, has brought the BMC Racing Team closer together. “We’re very happy and motivated and really a close-knit group,” he said. “You see Ivan Santaromita at the end of the race pulling the break back and he’s fighting for a top 10 position overall. So we’re all really working hard for each other and having a great time doing it.” Rafal Majka (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) remained the race leader as the top of the overall standings went unchanged.
Australia’s Mark Renshaw and Steele Von Hoff took second and third while
Poland’s Rafal Majka of Saxo-Tinkoff retained the leader’s yellow jersey and
will carry a four second lead into Wednesday’s 231.5 ride from Tarnow to
British rider and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins continues to
struggle this season and finished the day 49th overall and already 23min
43secs adrift of Majka.
Following a rest day on Monday after two days in the Dolomites, 35-year-old
former Tour de France green jersey winner Hushovd showed he had lost none of
the strength in his legs and indicated to the Swiss BMC team that the three
year contract he signed with them recently should yield positive results
despite his age.
1.Thor Hushovd (NOR/BMC) 5hr 10min 02sec, 2. Mark Renshav (AUS/BEL) same
time, 3. Steele Von Hoff (AUS/GRS) s.t., 4. Grega Bole (SLO/VCD) s.t., 5. Tosh
Van Der Sande (BEL/ LTB) s.t.
1. Rafal Majka (POL/SAX) 16hr 14min 45sec, 2. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya
(COL/SKY) at 4sec, 3. Christophe Riblon (FRA/ALM) 6, 4. Pieter Wenning
(NED/OGE) 7, 5. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (ESP/EUS) 9