Rafal Majka (BORA – hansgrohe) won today’s third stage of the Tour of Slovenia from Celje to Rogla and has now taken over the race lead.
The profile of today’s stage, was different to the fairly flat previous two days. The riders faced 167.7 kilometres and an almost 14-kilometre mountain top finish. Therefore, today was going to be decisive in the GC battle.
It took some time before a breakaway group got clear but eventually 6 riders went up the road. Their gap increased to over 4 minutes before BORA – hansgrohe started to chase them in earnest. With 40k to go, 3 remaining leaders had a gap of just 1 minute left.
At the foot of the last climb, all escapees were reeled in as Gregor Mühlberger set the pace on the bottom slopes of the ascent, which reduced the bunch to just 9 riders.
Majka put in a number of attacks on the final climb but struggled to get clear. In the end, the Polish champion sprinted clear to finish 3″ clear of Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) with Jack Haig (ORICA-Scott) a further 8″ down and Majka’s team Muhlberger next to finish. Majka now leads Visconti by 7″.
Rafal Majka – “First I have to say thanks to my team mates. They did an excellent job, also the past two days. I attacked early because I didn’t know the climb and didn’t want to take any risk. Nobody wanted to cooperate, so I tried it several times. In the end I took the win, and that is important. I am very happy, not just for this win, also because this was a good test after 3 weeks training in Sierra Nevada. I think I am ready now for the Tour.”