Diego Ulissi finally scored a stage win, long-awaited by himself, media and the spectators. Ulissi was the most aggressive cyclist from the very beginning, leading the unsuccessful breakaways in stage one and two. Stage 3 was made difficult by the configuration of the terrain, and selection was expected on the last climb with smaller groups coming to the finish line.
The breakaway of the day included several Slovenian riders, but it was caught right at the bottom of the decisive Dole climb. As yesterday, the rhythm was first dictated by Jan Polanc and later Diego Ulissi took matters into his own legs. A group of four riders – Ulissi, Vlasov, Chavez and Pogačar – was the first to approach the summit of the category 2 climb.
Ulissi’s decisive attack happened close to the top of the summit finish and only the Russian cyclist Vlasov was able to keep pace. The two then worked together to keep a 20-second gap. For a moment it seemed like the chase group with Polanc and Pogačar was going to be able to close the gap, but Ulissi was too strong, dropping Vlasov in the last two kilometres.
Tadej Pogačar collected his thoughts after the stage: “It was a difficult stage, but the route was very nice and took us along the roads we know well. Local fans came in droves, infusing us with additional energy. As expected, the race was decided on the last climb, and I also felt better than during the yesterday’s stage. I am satisfied, Ulissi is wearing the green jersey and, hopefully, we well be able to defend it tomorrow.”
After taking stage 3, Diego Ulissi is in the lead of the general classification with a 19 second advantage over Aleksandr Vlasov. Tadej Pogačar is 30 seconds behind at the 6th place. Tomorrow’s queen stage from Nova Gorica to Ajdovščina features several climbs, the biggest to Predmeja coming last.
Author: Gregor Homan