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The third stage was decided by photo finish, Halvorsen won, Sagan ended up third and also became the new leader

The third stage was decided by photo finish, Halvorsen won, Sagan ended up third and also became the new leader

The penultimate stage, ending in Považská Bystrica, was 193 kilometers long, the longest of all the stages of the 65th edition of the race. At the end of it, the fastest men in the peloton won the battle for victory, Kristoffer Halvorsen won by a mere inch ahead of Kaden Groves. Peter Sagan earned himself a yellow jersey with his third position.

 

The third stage of the 65th edition of The Tour of Slovakia had begun in Dolný Kubín, where the second stage finished the day before. On Saturday, cyclists went through Čadca and Bytča all the way to Považská Bystrica. There were five mountain competitions along the way, the participants of the event had to go through the ascents of Zázrivá, Lutiše, Semeteš, Manínska strait and Čelkova Lehota. The last kilometers were flat. Álvaro Hodeg was wearing the yellow jersey.

 

As on Friday, cyclists were accompanied by rain and low temperatures on Saturday. However, it did not rain as intensely during the third stage as it did during the second stage. The all-day lasting break had took a very long time to form. At the beginning of the stage, the peloton tore down due to a mass fall. A large number of cyclists ended up on the ground, but all of them continued to race. Subsequently, an opaque situation prevailed on the road and the teams from the highest league did not want to let any riders go  clear before the situation calmed down.

 

The all-day lasting break was not formed until the riders had passed the second categorized climb, shortly before the first intermediate sprint in Čadca. Five cyclists made it into the break, including Alessandro Tonelli and Andrea Garosio (both Bardiani CSF Faizane), Roger Adria Oliveras (Equipo Kern Pharma), Matěj Zahálka (Elkov – Kasper) and Tomasz Budzinski (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski). The break of the day thus went through two intermediate sprints and three categorized climbs where Garosio definitively sealed his victory, for after Saturday, all the Italian rider needs is to come to Trnava to win the polka dot jersey.

 

The Czech cyclist from the Elkov – Kasper team, who became a part of the peloton only around 20 kilometers before the finish line, so just after the last speed competition, was the longest survivor of the break of the day. For this achievement, he earned himself an award for the most combative racer of the stage. Shortly before that, Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe) and Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) fought a big battle for the remaining two and one bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint in Dolné Kočkovce. After the peloton caught Zahálka, the sprint teams folded to the top of the bunch and brought the main group into the finish line.

 

The finish line was placed in front of the town hall in Považská Bystrica, where crowded streets became a witness of a dramatic battle for stage victory. Unlike Friday, the grand finale wasn’t marked by any falls. Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was the first one to open the sprint, but Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe) and Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) first got through it. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange) had achieved the highest speed in the finale and needed only a few more meters. The winner had to be decided by the photo finish, which in the end spoke in favor of Norwegian rider, the second was Groves and third position was won by Peter Sagan.

 

Once again, stage victory has evaded the three-time world champion at the home event, but thanks to the six bonus seconds he collected on Saturday, he was able to dress in yellow jersey on Saturday. At the same time, he took over the green jersey for the leader of the points competition on the podium. During the last stage, Álvaro Hodeg will wear it, because he holds the second position not only in the provisional overall classification, but also in the points classification. Peter Sagan is also a leader in the competition for the best Slovak rider. The remaining two jerseys did not change their owners. The polka dot jersey was definitively won by Andrea Garosio, while the white jersey was taken over by Eirik Lunder (Gazprom – Rusvelo).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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