A solid performance of BAHRAIN MERIDA Team on 3rd Stage of Tour of Croatia
Zadar, 20th April – Bahrain Merida Team showed solid performance on a hard and windy 3rd Stage of Tour of Croatia and worked well for the team leader, Vincenzo Nibali.
Tour of Croatia goes on under tough weather conditions and the organizers are facing a huge challenge of how to deal with the strong N/E wind that is blowing in strong ruffles from the Velebit mountain range for over 24 hours.
The morning of 3rd stage was sunny but quite chilly, with just few degrees above zero, in a unique town of Imotski in Dalmatian inland, where the stage started. The first 30 km were dictated by the wind and only after the descent at 37th km a breakaway group was formed with 8 riders and a gap of maximum 4 minutes. Front of the peloton was taken by UAE Emirates Team, al Team Caja Rural and BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team. The leading teams were keeping eyes on their captains and the breakaway group, preserving the gap of under 4 minutes. The wind took a lot of energy from all the riders. As on previous days, the BAHRAIN MERIDA riders were mostly focused on providing a good wind shelter for Vincenzo Nibali and avoiding any unnecessary risks.
Just before entering Zadar the peloton caught the breakaway group and all our riders were focused on Vincenzo, giving him important support. Vincenzo Nibali passed the finish line with the same time as the winner and was the best ranking rider of BAHRAIN MERIDA Team. Today’s stage was a good preparation for king’s stage on Saturday (Poreč–Učka), which will probably be the decisive one.
Manuele Boaro commented today’s stage: “It was a long and hard stage, but luckily there was no rain. There was a lot of crashes today, so I’m glad that we are all safe and that is most important.”
Valerio Agnoli added: “It was a hard and long day, but we are happy that we are still within reach of our goal – that Vincenzo wins Tour of Croatia. We are also here for a good training, but it is a very strong race and today’s 237 km were hard to keep Vincenzo out of any problems. It is also worth to mention that BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team is the leading team at Tour of Croatia.”
Gorazd Štangelj, sports director confirmed that it was a hard and stressful race: “It is not ordinary wind, it is Bura wind and to be strong for 6 hours in the peloton is very hard under these conditions. There were lots of crashes and we did well being all the time in the front of the peloton. For us it was a kind of transfer stage. Tomorrow we are expecting another similar stage, before the 5th one on Saturday.”