Second punchy finish on the Tour de Pologne, and second top-10 for Lenny Martinez. After fighting with the main favorites on Sunday in Karpacz (6th), the climber from Groupama-FDJ did it again on Monday in Duszniki-Zdrój in what was a slightly “busier” final. The 20-year-old took seventh place on the line, in the same time as the winner Rafal Majka, and therefore retained his ninth place overall. The sprinters should return to the spotlights on Tuesday.
Despite 3,000 meters of elevation gain on the day’s menu on the Tour de Pologne, it was expected that stage 3 would come down to the last kilometre in Duszniki-Zdrój, averaging 9% and with ramps up to 15%. “The start was still livelier than Sunday”, said Frédéric Guesdon. “It was quite hilly, it lent itself more to attacks, even if it only lasted about fifteen kilometres in the end”. Jacopo Mosca (Lidl-Trek), Mick van Dijke (Jumbo-Visma), Bastien Tronchon (AG2R-Citroën) and Andreas Kron (Lotto-Dsnty) managed to break away but did not benefit from an enormous lead. The maximum gap was five minutes, then Bahrain-Victorious took responsibility for the yellow jersey Matej Mohoric. The gap was reduced to two minutes starting the final fifty kilometres but the last man standing, Andreas Kron, managed to hold on until the last twenty kilometres. He was caught on the penultimate climb of the day (8km at 4%). “We mostly had to be up there in the last twenty kilometres”, explained Frédéric Guesdon. “The guys supported Lenny well and our goal was for him to be in a good position before the very last climb. Lewis got over the penultimate climb with him while the others did the work beforehand. Then, they struggled a bit to remain in a good position on the descent because there were still a lot of riders and because it’s never easy for someone with Lenny’s size.”
“We would have liked to see more gaps”, Frédéric Guesdon
After a very fast downhill, the Groupama-FDJ duo still managed to get back together approaching the final climb. In the false flat preceding the highest slopes, before the flamme rouge, Lewis Askey was able to make a last, useful pull for his young leader. “He managed to position him very well at the bottom”, confirmed Frédéric. “This is what we hoped for at the start of the day and Lewis has fulfilled his role perfectly”. Lenny Martinez therefore took place in the first ten positions for the entire last kilometre while the high pace and the narrow road prevented any attack. “The finish was technical, and it was not easy to make your way through”, explained Frédéric. “Eventually, the final sprint was more about positioning. You had to be already in front with 200 metres to go, in first or second position. We had seen the finish carefully, but others managed to handle it better”. In contact with the best, Lenny Martinez couldn’t however enter the home straight in the wheel of the very first men and therefore had to sprint for the remaining positions. On the line, the young man grabbed seventh place, but without losing time to the winner Rafal Majka. “He could have hoped for the podium with a better positioning, but the course was the same for everyone,” commented Frédéric. “It’s still positive. Everyone is doing well; everyone is in their place. Lenny overcame today’s stage, and the GC should now be decided on the time trial. We would have liked to see more gaps over the last two days, but the course was less suitable for that this year”.
On Monday evening, Lenny Martinez still sits ninth overall, now twenty seconds behind leader Matej Mohoric and in the same time as Ilan Van Wilder, fifth. “We should have a sprint tomorrow. So we’ll go with Paul, who is doing well after his crash on the first day, while also protecting Lenny”, concluded Frédéric.