Czech Cycling Tour Stage 3: Vakoc Takes Over Race Lead, Finishes 5th
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Petr Vakoc earned a 5th place finish, in a hectic 199km 3rd Stage with a fast pace that drastically reduced the peloton, and one rider won solo.
Leopold Konig (Czech Republic) won the stage, distancing his fellow break mate Jan Hirt (CCC Sprandi Polokowice) in the final kilometers. Karel Hnik (Czech Republic) was 2nd, and Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) finished 3rd.
Vakoc, the current Czech Road Champion, takes over the race lead from Fernando Gaviria, who took over the pink leader's jersey after a stage 2 victory out of a breakaway. Etixx - Quick-Step also won the Stage 1 team time trial of Czech Cycling Tour.
Pieter Serry sits in 3rd overall, and former Czech Road Champion Zdenek Stybar is 4th going into the final, 144.km up-and-down Stage 4 on Sunday.
"Today was a difficult day, fast paced with hot temperatures," Vakoc said. "In the final there was a group that attacked with Barta and Stybar. Serry and I stayed in the second group. But on the climb I saw Stybar in a difficult moment, so I realized at that time it was important to immediately jump into the actions. I went full gas the entire last lap and I managed to reach the Barta group at 1 kilometer to go. I went as hard as possible to catch them, and at the end I took the leader's jersey by six seconds. It is nice to keep the jersey within the team going into the final day. Tomorrow will be another hard stage ,with a short circuit repeated a lot of times, and a climb each lap. It won't be easy, but I have to do my best to stay with Barta. He is the point of reference now. Then we will see what can happen at the end."