Mathieu Kockelmann wins in the rain. Mathys Rondel still in the lead

“I didn’t know that I had won because I thought there was still a breakaway in front” – said shaking Mathieu Kockelmann at the finish of the 3rd stage of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix at Štrbské Pleso. The dynamic Luxembourger was the best of the reduced group on the long climb. Mathys Rondel from the French team remained the leader.

There was a lot of action on the third stage of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix. From the very start in Tvrdosin, there was fierce and exciting competition for the breakaway. Riders attacked repeatedly, but no one was able to break away from the main group. On the first climb, Italians were particularly active, but the peloton did not want to let any breakaway go. The KOM in Kvačany was won by Pietro Mattio, wearing the green jersey.

A major selection occurred on the descent, where many riders were involved in crashes. Shortly afterward, the peloton split into several groups, with the leaders of the general classification, Mathys Rondel and second-placed Brieuc Rolland, among the front. However the leading group was quickly catched. Then, a 5-man group formed, consisting of Daniel Rubes (Czech Republic), Nicolas Milesi and Pietro Mattio (Italy), Mateusz Gajdulewicz (Poland), and Moritz Kretschy (Germany).

The peloton did not let the breakaway get more than a minute ahead. “It was a very tough stage, it was cold and rainy. The first hour was chaotic, without a breakaway, full gas all the time. After the second climb, we broke away in 5 people with one teammate. We tried to reach the finish before the peloton, but because of the headwind, it was tough. The group caught us 2 kilometers before the finish” – said Pietro Mattio, who won another KOM later on the climb.

Mateusz Gajdulewicz stayed in the front the longest but was caught by the reduced peloton just before the finish. In the sprint, the fastest was Mathieu Kockelmann. “I crashed on the wet descent and had to change a bike but I managed to return to the peloton and felt really good. We planned to go for the sprint. I didn’t know that I had won because I thought there was still a breakaway ahead” – described the Luxembourger. “I like such weather, I usually do well in these conditions.”

Kazakh Ilkhan Dostiyev and Swiss Fabian Weiss finished in the following positions. Mateusz Gajdulewicz finished 10th. Mathys Rondel retained the lead in the general classification.

Tomorrow, the fourth stage of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix will take place on the route from BUKOVINA Resort, Niedzica – Jasło.

Stage 3 of ORLEN Nations Grand Prix 2024 results