In a thrilling start to the CRO Race, Elia Viviani of Ineos Grenadiers marked his triumphant return to the sprinting stage, clinching the opening stage title in a fiercely contested race. Viviani's sprinting prowess was on full display as he outpaced his competitors, with Tobias Lund Andresen from Team dsm-firmenich securing the second position, closely followed by Alexander Kristoff of Uno-X in third place.
This remarkable victory not only kickstarts Viviani's season but also brings back vivid memories of his previous triumph in the same race just a year ago. The victory catapulted him into the coveted leader's jersey, a testament to his exceptional form.
The 182km stage, spanning from Primosten to Sinj, featured only three categorized climbs, making it a perfect battleground for the sprinters. However, the allure of television exposure led to a spirited chase by the breakaway group.
Breakaway Battle Unfolds Dramatically
Initially comprising Mateusz Grabis (Voster ATS), Michal Schuran (ATT Investments), Raul Garcia Pierna (Equipo Kern Pharma), Simone Bevilacqua (Eolo-Kometa), and Edward Ravasi (Hrinkow Advarics), the breakaway saw Grabis eventually lose contact, reducing the group to four riders, determined to stay ahead of the peloton.
Despite holding a substantial lead of nearly three minutes, the breakaway's advantage diminished rapidly within the final 50km, as the peloton intensified their pursuit. Ravasi's strength waned on a challenging hill, leaving three brave riders dangling ahead, while the peloton showed no urgency in reeling them in until approximately 20km remained.
The race took an unexpected turn when a dramatic crash disrupted the run-in, with Matej Mohoric from Bahrain Victorious being the most prominent casualty. Mohoric had to mount a spirited chase back into the peloton as he tumbled outside the 3km mark.
The finale witnessed Ineos-Grenadiers executing a masterful lead-out for Viviani, who managed to fend off a determined challenge from Lund Andresen, ultimately clinching victory in this thrilling stage. Viviani's win serves as a testament to his impeccable sprinting skills and places him firmly at the forefront of the CRO Race, setting the stage for an exhilarating competition ahead.
Stay tuned for more updates as the CRO Race unfolds, promising more exhilarating moments and fierce competition in the days to come.