Team KATUSHA showed its strength today in stage 3 of the VOO-Tour de Wallonie (Braine-l’Alleud – Vielsalm, 200,6 km). Vladimir Isaychev became part of 3-man breakaway, spending more than half of the stage in front of the race. Isaychev was the last rider who gave up and was caught by the peloton, but after the finish the KATUSHA rider took the prize as the most combative rider of the day.
On the last climb of the day with 10 km to go, two KATUSHA riders, Pavel Kochetkov and Viacheslav Kuznetsov, made a strong double attack. This attack split the peloton in parts, creating a leading group of 30-35 riders.
- Today we tried to show ourselves since the team is in good shape and we have the riders who could do well on this profile. Vladimir Isaychev did a strong race in the break, protecting the team’s interests. Later, when the break was caught, we still had three riders in front – Kuznetsov, Kochetkov and Egor Silin. We were very active in the final, Kochetkov and Kuznetsov attacked for several times, while Silin supported them in the group. Finally, it was impossible to avoid the massive sprint, but we still protected the position of Viacheslav Kuznetsov in the general classification. We have two hard days ahead and everything is still possible in this race. We will keep on fighting, - said sports director Gennady Mikhaylov.
Despite a number of attacks, a group of 30 riders came to the finish together in Vielsalm and the stage victory was decided in a sprint. The winner of the stage was Dimitri Claeys from Wanty – Groupe Gobert. Second place went to Gianni Meersman from Etixx – Quick Step, while the daily podium was completed by Jonathan Hivert of Fortuneo – Vital Concept. Viacheslav Kuznetsov finished 10th.
This result was enough for Kuznetsov to hold his third place in the general classification. After three stages the Team KATUSHA rider is just 3 seconds behind the new overall leader Dimitri Claeys. In addition, Kuznetsov still holds the red jersey as the leader in intermediate sprints classification.
Tomorrow will be held the fourth stage of the Tour de Wallonie – 178,8 km from Aubel to Herstal.
Photo credit: (c) Tim De Waele