The 4th stage of the Tour of Croatia finished with a 22km climb. Riccardo Zoidl (Trek-Segafredo) showed he was the strongest climber at the race, taking the win ahead of Matja Kvasina (Synergy Baku) with Victor de la Parte (CCC Sprandi) in 3rd.
With today's stage only 124km long and the last 20km all being uphill, it was near impossible that an early break would succeed today. Nevertheless, there was a lot of attacking in the early stages and our African Team was also involved. 8 riders eventually got away but as expected they were caught on the big final climb.
With Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka sending a sprint squad to the Tour of Croatia, today was never going to be a day for our African Team. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nic Dougall would test the legs to see what was possible, and both riders were part of the reduced peloton that started the final climb together.
With a number of strong climbers at the race, it was not possible for our 2 South African talents to follow the more slightly built figures up the climb to Ucka. Instead, it became a day of saving the legs for our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders with the goal of targeting a top result at tomorrow's 40km team time trial.
Even though today wasn't really for us, we still wanted to be part of the race. In the beginning of the stage there was a big group of 21 riders that got away. Mark Cavendish was in the group for us and he won the first intermediate sprint. On the first category one climb a new break formed of 8 riders. Trek and Tinkoff controlled it so it was then all up to the final climb. Reinardt wanted to give the the final climb a try but it wasn't for him and he got dropped. Tomorrow is the team time trial, we are focused on it and we want do well. We will be one of the first teams to start so we won’t have any time checks but I am confident we will do well and we will be one of of the fastest teams at the finish.
Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director