Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard powered to victory on Thursday’s third stage of the Tour of Croatia to move up to second place in the overall standings.
Dane Vingegaard, 25, competing in his first race since winning the Tour in July, pipped Briton Oscar Onley after a 157km ride from Sinj through Split to Primosten.
The stage ended with a 1,500m-long climb, partly in gravel with parts of it at a 20% gradient.
“It was an extremely difficult finish, but the legs were good,” Vingegaard said.
“The form’s there so I will try and go for the overall jersey. I’m very happy about my current physical condition.”
Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric was third with overall leader Jonathan Milan of Italy in fifth.
Jumbo-Visma’s Vingegaard is now just one second behind Milan, the 21-year-old Bahrain-Victorious rider who won the opening two stages.
The 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas continued to struggle, finishing more than four minutes behind Vingegaard, who is aiming to compete in the one-day Tour of Lombardy on October 8.
Friday’s fourth stage is a 219km ride northwards on the Dalmatian coast from Biograd na Moru to Crikvenica.
The race ends on Sunday in the capital Zagreb.
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