Arnaud Démare mastered the challenging finale, Yves Lampaert keeps defending yellow jersey

Arnaud Démare mastered the challenging finale, Yves Lampaert keeps defending yellow jersey

Third stage at Tour of Slovakia saw a shakeup in the jersey classifications. Arnaud Démare won this stage with confidence, yellow Yves Lampaert finished fifth and continues to lead the GC.

 

Penultimate stage from Ruzomberok tu Hlohovec had prepared the most challenging finale of 63rd year of the race. The stage today measured 200 kilometres, parcours were mostly flat, but became a bit hilly to the end with a 700 metres long finishing climb. Finale was supposed to remind of spring classics, which it did and even had a word in the general classification.

 
As the previous stage, the start was plentiful of attacks, mostly by continental teams. But again, World Tour teams didn´t allow that, until  Gasper Katrašnik (Adria Mobil), Mateusz Grabis (Voster ATS Team), Martin Urianstad (Uno-X Norwegian Development) a and later Kenny Molly (Wallonie-Bruxelles) managed to escape.

 

There was a quartet up there, which had to fight vigorously, because the strongest teams weren´t leaving them a big gap and at one point, their advantage was one minute. Peloton then slowed down and the gap was steadily at three minutes. Amongst the escapees, who seemed most active, were Kenny Molly (Wallonie-Bruxelles) and Gašper Katrašnik (Adria Mobil). Molly was collecting points, won two climbs and moved onto second place in KOM competition. Katrašnik was the fastest at two intermediate sprints. The last one was won by Mateusz Grabis (Voster ATS Team).

 

After that, Bora-hansgrohe started to play their cards, tore the bunch apart and caught the breakaway. Only a group of sixty riders remained at the front and no candidate for win was absent. Cyclists of Bora-hansgrohe were active until the very end. At seven kilometres to go, riders encountered the last categorized climb, on which Martin Salmon (Development Team Sunweb) took all the points and secured his KOM jersey. Then it was all about the finale.

 

The whole group came together into the finishing climb, but on a steep final kilometer Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) went full gas and no one seemed able to follow his move. French rider has achieved victory right in front of his father, who came to Hlohovec on bike from Paris, which took ten days. It´s Démare´s 61st professional triumph. Alexandr Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates) flied into the finish line two seconds behind the winner. Alexander Kristoff finished third.   

 

Provisional leader Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was taking fifth place, five seconds behind. Belgian rider was just behind Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), who was losing three seconds on him before this stage. That gap haven´t changed. Arnaud Démare has jumped onto the third place, fourth is occupied by Kamil Gradek (Team CCC) and Tom Bohli (UAE Emirates) is fifth. Torjus Sleen (Uno-X Norwegian Development) remains leader of U23 classification and Gašper Katrašnik (Adria Mobil) was pronounced the most aggressive rider. Erik Baška (Bora-hansgrohe) took 21st place, losing 19 seconds on the winner, but is still the best placed Slovakian rider and is on a good way to bring the white-blue-red jersey home.