After coming in second twice in a row, today Alvaro Hodeg could raise his arms in triumph on the finish line of the third stage, the one that covered 139 km from the Slaski Stadium in Chorzow to Zabrze. The young Colombian rider from team Quick-Step Floors prevailed in the sprint, ahead of Britain’s Daniel Mclay (EF Education First) and the German Andrè Greipel (Lotto Soudal). Hodeg enjoyed a masterful set up from his team mate, Michael Morkov, who launched him into a fantastic sprint to come out ahead of all the competition.
This victory also earned Hodeg the Carrefour yellow jersey as leader of the general classification, where he is currently ahead by 2 points over Germany’s Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), who was only twelfth today. Hodeg scored big at Zabrze, stepping on to the podium to also wear the Hyundai white jersey as best sprinter.
This is Hodeg’s first year in the pro leagues, and this is his 5th win of the season (after the Handzame Classic, the first stage in the Volta Catalunya, the general classification in the Hammer Sportzone Limburg and the team time trial in the Adriatica Ionica Race). The victory he has obtained here on the roads of Poland is definitely the most important in his career. So the Tour de Pologne continues its tradition of bringing new young talent to the forefront.
Here’s a recap of the stage:
Today’s stage featured a break by three riders; the Pole wearing the Tauron magenta jersey, Michal Paluta (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Frenchman Mathias Le Tournier (Cofidis) and the Russian Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo). The attackers then became a foursome when they were joined by the Belgian in the Lotto blue jersey, Jenthe Biermans (Katusha-Alpecin).
Paluta and Biermans were the most active of the four fugitives; with today’s moves they worked especially hard to reinforce their positions in the rankings as the best classified climber and the most active rider in the group, respectively.
The runaways gained a maximum lead of about 4 minutes. However, once again today the pack, spurred on by team Bora-hansgrohe and the teams of sprinters, didn’t leave the breakaway much leeway as they vied to carry their leaders into the sprint for victory. The group caught up to the 4 brave-hearts with about10 km to go to the arrival, during the second-to-last of the four 6.2 km laps around the final circuit in Zabrze. In today’s final sprint, Alvaro Hodeg finally came out ahead after having to settle for second place in the first two stages.
Michal Paluta is the leader of the Lotos classification for the best Polish rider.
Team Trek – Segafredo is in command of the team classification.
After the first part of the week-long race was tailored to sprinters, tomorrow the second part of the Tour de Pologne will get underway, with the 4th stage featuring an arrival on the gruelling “wall” in Szczyrk.
“I’m really happy to have delivered the victory for the whole team – they put a big responsibility on my shoulders and a lot of trust in such a big job for me, especially after I finished 2nd on the first two stages. Michael Morkov also gave a perfect lead-out. The pace was full gas in the last 2 kilometres and the whole Quick-Step team work was perfect. It’s my first year in Pro Peleton and it’s my biggest win so far. I know that tomorrow will be a hard stage but for the moment I enjoy this victory and the yellow jersey” says Alvaro Hodeg who is only the 4th Colombian rider to win a stage in Tour de Pologne after Atapuma, Gaviria and Henao.
“It’s a great start to this year’s Tour de Pologne for me and I’m very happy with the outcome so far. It was a second day of this Tour that I spent in a breakaway, but thankfully today was different than the first stage- the riders in the break and the overall pace was different each time and the stage was flatter and less punchy today. Before the breakaway, several riders started initial attacks to increase the pace and get the early sprint prime. Afterwards, my team mates and I tried to get a break to work and it eventually stuck. And yes, one of my objectives for the race is the climber’s jersey, but the main task is to assist my team mates in the general classification – the jersey is secondary priority after the team work and our shared goals” says Michal Paluta.