Matti Breschel won stage 3 of this year’s Tour of Luxembourg today, marking not only the Danish rider’s second consecutive win in as many days, but also taking the overall race lead.
Breschel beat Rudy Molard and Sergey Lagutin in another sprint finish, after 205.8 kilometers of racing from Eschweiler to Differdange.
"I have that jersey. But only for now," Breschel said.
"It’s always hard to say in cycling of course. In an open race like the Tour of Luxembourg it’s hard to make a plan.
Today’s stage featured no fewer than 8 categorized climbs, with temperatures reaching well over 30 degrees Celsius.
A breakaway group of four riders containing Tom Dernies (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Pit Schlechter (Leopard-Trek), Ruben Menendez (Differdange) and Ivan Balykin (Rusvelo), got underway at the outset of today’s stage. And, at one point, the quartet of riders succeeded in building up a sizable lead of 4 minutes over the peloton.
MTN-Qhubeka’s Jay Thomson would later join the escapees – after bridging a 2 1/2 minute gap on his own.
As the race headed into the final third, the escapee’s advantage had been reduced to 3 minutes, as the Trek Factory Racing team led the pursuit in earnest.
As the race entered into the first of the three final laps, the breakaway group was caught. From there, Fränk Schleck attacked the peloton on the steep, 1500 meter climb of the Col de l’Europe. However, Schleck was quickly brought back, only to see his elder brother attempt an attack of his own.
After Schleck succeeded in riding clear, he was subsequently joined by Linus Gerdemann (MTN-Qhubeka), Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka. But, as the race headed into the final 9.4-kilometer lap, the field exploded again, with a group of 5 riders containing Sergey Lagutin, Rudy Molard (Cofidis) and three Tinkoff-Saxo riders, Ivan Rovny, Oliver Zaugg and Matti Breschel, riding clear after the Col de l’Europe.
"It was not the plan we would be up front with three riders. It’s hard to make a plan before a stage like this. We had a couple of plans. We played on different cards," Breschel commented. "Ivan attacked and then I attacked."
Breschel would once again prove to be the strongest rider of the group – taking the sprint and wresting the yellow jersey from Jean-Pierre Drucker.
Tomorrow’s final stage of this year’s Tour of Luxembourg brings the peloton from Mersch to Luxembourg-City – covering over 168.2 kilometers. The climb of the Rollingergrund during the final five laps is expected to define the overall outcome of the race.
Top 20 Finishers
1 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 5:27:10 2 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 3 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) RusVelo 4 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo 5 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo 6 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:18 7 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 8 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) MTN – Qhubeka 9 Diego Milan Jimenez (Dom) Team Differdange – Losch 10 Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia 11 Christian Mager (Ger) Team Stölting 12 Fabio Taborre (Ita) Yellow Fluo 13 Maxime Anciaux (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 14 Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 15 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol 16 Joel Zangerle (Lux) Leopard Development Team 17 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN – Qhubeka 18 Corrado Lampa (Ita) Team Differdange – Losch 19 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 20 Kiryll Pozdnyakov (Rus) RusVelo
General classification after stage 3
1 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 13:54:02 2 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:15 3 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 4 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:17 5 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) RusVelo 0:00:20 6 Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting 0:00:29 7 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:37 8 Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 0:00:42 9 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:50 10 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 0:00:55 11 Christian Mager (Ger) Team Stölting 12 Joel Zangerle (Lux) Leopard Development Team 0:00:58 13 Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN – Qhubeka 0:00:59 14 Diego Milan Jimenez (Dom) Team Differdange – Losch 0:01:00 15 Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia 16 Andrey Solomennikov (Rus) RusVelo 0:01:02 17 Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Belisol 0:01:04 18 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia 0:01:05 19 Fabio Taborre (Ita) Yellow Fluo 0:01:06 20 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN – Qhubeka 0:01:10
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