Groves takes over race lead on stage three of the Czech Tour
Aussie pro cycling team Mitchelton-SCOTT will head into the final stage of the Czech Tour with the race lead after successfully defending the yellow jersey on stage three.
The day ended in another bunch sprint, with Australian Kaden Groves taking 16th place, moving him to the top of the general classification with one day to go.
Five riders went clear to form the day’s breakaway, with Mitchelton-SCOTT happy enough to see the group drift up the road. Kiwi Jack Bauer assumed his role on the front of the peloton, sharing turns with race leader Luke Durbridge.
Team Sunweb then took over the pace making as the peloton hit the Pstevny climb and attacks soon followed. Australian Damien Howson was quick to follow the moves, and although nothing stuck, the increase in pace saw Durbridge and a host of riders distanced.
Meanwhile, the break was down to just one rider and by the time the race reached the final categorised climb of the day, it was all back together.
Mitchelton-SCOTT then amassed at the head of the pack, with Italian Edoardo Affini setting the tempo as the stage looked destined for another sprint finish.
It was another tricky finishing circuit to negotiate for the peloton with Michael Hepburn and Bauer working well to set Groves up as the finish line approached. However, a dropped chain with 150 metres to go derailed Groves' chances as Jordi Meeus (SEG Racing Academy) repeat his victory of the previous day.
"It was a really good ride from the boys today, it was a really hard day actually. They were on the front with Eddy, Jack and Durbo pulling all day and again no real help from any other teams, so all the work was put towards them.
"When we got to the finish circuits after a few attacks it was all back together. It was quite a hard little finishing circuit with a few short climbs, narrow roads and a section of cobbles at the finish.
"At the finish Jack and Heppy (Michael Hepburn) did a really good turn to get in me in position, but unfortunately going into the final corner on the cobbles I dropped my chain with about 150metres to go and just had to roll over the line. It was disappointing after a good day with a lot of teamwork."
Dave McPartland (Sports Director):
"We let a group go early on and we were happy with it, five guys down the road and we let that go out to six-minutes. As we came to the climb in the middle of the stage it was around 4’30” and we were just going to cruise up the climb, then a couple of teams decided to rip it up.
"After all the work the guys had been doing it put us under the pump a bit. But in general, we were still better off than a lot of other teams, because a lot of other teams lost four or five guys and we only lost Durbo.
"We sort of rescued it from there on and we were in a position where we just had to keep things settled down as much as possible. We got through it and onto the hectic finish circuit and luckily everyone made it through, we didn’t come out with a result with Kaden, but it wasn’t to be."
Czech Tour – Stage 3 Results
1. Jordi Meeus (SEG Racing Academy) 5:18:38
2. Max Kanter (Team Sunweb) ST
3. Martin Laas (BORA – Hansgrohe) ST
16. Kaden Groves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:02
Czech Tour – General Classification after Stage 3
1. Kaden Groves (Mitchelton-SCOTT)