Italian sprinting specialist of Team Emirates Sacha Modolo was the winner of an opening stage of 3rd Tour of Croatia. The sum of 155 riders have started not particularly demanding, almost fully flat race in Osijek on Tuesday morning, finishing it 5 hours, 25 minutes and 19 seconds later, after crossing 227 kilometres in total. Only four cyclists out of 155 of those from starting line-up happened to fail by not finishing it off in winner's time.
Any other outcome of the race was hardly expected as Trek Segafredo's Italian rider Giacomo Nizzolo (two time sprinting winner of last year racing in Croatia) only started to compete after six months on sidelines. However, the Italian proved his worth by grabbing 5th position on Tuesday. His compatriot and the biggest star of the race, Vincenzo Nibali from Bahrain-Merida, finished at 20th place.
The stage has started in rainy Osijek, than went through Belisce. Virovitica, Koprivnica and Ludbreg, to finish with second visit to Koprivnica's town centre, now in dry and safe conditions.
The race has been marked with an early breakaway of five cyclists, who attacked at 40th kilometre and were leading for roughly 170 kilometres that followed. The leading group, compound of Jannik Steimle (Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels), Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Gregor Gazvoda (Adria Mobil), Michael O'Loughlin (Team Wiggins) and Ahmet Akdilek (Torku Sekerspor), has been caught and then dethroned only about 15 kilometres before end. The biggest gap they have created topped 10 minutes.
Already mentioned Russian rider of Gazprom-RusVelo Nikolay Trusov, took the lead in King of the Mountin (KOM) competition (green jersey) by winning only one hill climb. Italian rider Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team) became an early owner of white jersey, dedicated to best young rider in the race. Naturally, Modolo took the lead both in points competition (blue) and general classification (red/white checkered jersey).
Complete expedition is on the move right now, transferring from north-western town of Koprivnica towards far south of the country, Trogir, from where the 2nd stage of the Tour of Croatia is set to start on Wednesday morning. Competitors will continuously climb, going all the way from sea level to 1762 metres high Sveti Jure, the highest point of Mountin Biokovo and second highest in Croatia, in a route which consists 30 kilometres breathtaking steep climbing. The length of the stage is 123 kilometres.