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Thor Hushovd won stage 3 of the Tour de Pologne on Tuesday in Rzeszow, Poland. Hushovd (BMC Racing) took the bunch sprint in the 226-kilometer leg from Krakow.
Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) was second and Mark Renshaw (Belkin) was third.
Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) finished with the peloton to retain his overall lead.
Four men made up the day’s long breakaway on the race’s first day on home roads: Alexsandr Dyachenko (Astana); Ricardo Mestre (Euskaltel-Euskadi); Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM); and Bartlomiej Matysiak (CCC Polsat Polkowice). The escapees took a maximum advantage of 10:50, but Sky, with Danny Pate, and BMC Racing were motivated to ensure a bunch finish.
The breakaway held 1:27 when the peloton hit the finishing circuits with 20km remaining. With 10km to go, they still had a minute and Cannondale went to the front of the bunch to help in the chase. Garmin and Colombia pushed to the front, but the chase was disorganized.
Still, the escape pushed on, holding near a minute’s advantage inside 9km to go. With 6km to go, the gap was 26 seconds.
With 4km to go, Sky upped the pace in the peloton, stringing the bunch out. BMC massed around Thor Hushovd, with Taylor Phinney and Ivan Santaromita there. Garmin was there as well, but Argos-Shimano took control for the run-in to the 1km kite.
Dyachenko attacked with 3km to go and the acceleration trimmed Matysiak off the escape. Mestre just barely made the move, but it was all for naught. The peloton drew them back in the final 2km.
Belkin led the bunch into the sprint, with Mark Renshaw fourth wheel, behind Phinney. Phinney took over on the front inside the final kilometer and drove a long, seated leadout. Renshaw jumped early, opening the door for Hushovd to come around on his left. The Norwegian outpaced the Aussie in the final 150 meters to win by a bike length over Von Hoff, who nipped Renshaw for third.
“The wind was coming from the left, so I knew he [Renshaw] would close the door to the right,” Hushovd said in a press release. “So I was already thinking about this and knew I would have to go left. Taylor Phinney did a good job and the whole team did really well. I’m really happy to get this win. I was quite confident today and the team had a lot of confidence in me — so that really helped.”