CRO Race: Domen Novak is 5th on the Queen stage
Platak (Croatia), October 5th – Team Bahrain Merida riders put in another brilliant performance at CRO Race. Domen Novak finished 5th on the Queen stage (Rabac-Platak 142km) and moved also up to 5th place overall.
It was the toughest day at the Croatian stage race. In fact, today’s course featured three categorized climbs, including the HC category ‘Dopolavoro’ climb along the way and the summit finish, with over 3300 m of climbing.
TBM riders were very active since the start, with Luka Pibernik who was part of an early breakaway. Then Domen Novak showed the team colours halfway, staying at the front on the steep second climb of the day. The route proved to be very selective and there were several attempts of attacks. With less than 40 km to go, Grega Bole was among the attackers too. The Slovenian rider was in the trio leading the race and stayed with the leaders until the beginning of the final ascent. When he lost contact, his teammate Novak managed to come back and he pushed hard in the chasing group. In the finale, the Slovenian National Champion also tried to chase alone Adam Yates, who attacked with 5km to go.
“I tried at my best, but he was too far to be caught” Novak explained, “In the end, some chasers came back to me and I took 5th place, but I’m satisfied with my performance today anyway”. He finished 11 seconds behind the winner Yates, who is also the new overall leader. “Unfortunately, I lost many seconds on the third stage, otherwise I could be second overall after today’s stage” Novak added commenting his 5th place in the general classification at 41” seconds. “Tomorrow I don’t think I can retrieve seconds, there’s one climb, but it won’t be easy to gain time”.
CRO Race ends tomorrow with stage 6 from Sveta Nedelja to Zagreb (154km) and a course that should favour the sprinters.
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @Team Bahrain Merida)