- Today it was raining the whole day, so it was a long and difficult stage. In the final sprint I tried to stay in a good position, but for me the problem was that I couldn’t see that much because of all the rain in my face. So I was in the middle of the group and I tried to do my sprint, also in the final meters. At the end I finished fourth, but my condition is very good and I’m in good shape. I had a good preparation for this tour and I feel good, so I hope I can take the victory tomorrow,- told Riccardo Minali.
In wet conditions the peloton took off from Osijek for the first stage of the 2018 Tour of Croatia. Last year, Riccardo Minali finished second and third at two sprint stages in Croatia, and this year’s first stage was also made for a sprint. With this fact in their minds, Astana Pro Team worked together with other teams to close the gap of the day’s breakaway to create a chance for the sprinters. Going into the final 5 kilometers, the breakaway was done for today, and the peloton prepared for a final sprint.
In a chaotic and physical sprint, Riccardo Minali was not able to get out of the wheel of winner Niccolo Bonifazio. Andrea Guardini and Eduard Grosu finished just in front of Minali, leaving him behind with a fourth place.
Photo credit: Bettiniphoto