Romanian cyclist, member of Nippo - Vini Fantini team, Eduard Michael Grosu is the winner of the second stage of Tour of Croatia, from Karlovac to Zadar, 234.5 kilometers, ending with the best sprint finish in the center of Zadar. In exciting finish of the race, Romanian from a professional continental team reached his most important career win by surpassing sprinting specialists from world tour teams Trek-Segafredo and Astana Pro Team – Giacomo Nizzolo and Riccardo Minali. Winning time of the leading three was 5 hours 38 minutes and 11 seconds.
In the overall ranking, Grosu, who also climbed the podium by winning third place at the first stage of the race, holds the first place with eight seconds ahead of Nizzolo and ten seconds ahead of Minali.
Following yesterday's pattern, the second stage has also started with fierce individual attacks since the very beginning. Very soon the leading group was formed of five drivers: Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy), Fabian Lienhard (Holowesko Citadel P / b Arapah), Riccardo Stacchiotti (MsTina Focus), Jon Božič (Adria Mobil) and Croatia own Deni Baniček from Meridiana Kamen Team, who got some bonification points (second place at the first mountain goal) and time bonification (third place in the second passing finish).
The twenty-eight-year-old Croatian cyclist returned last year after a five-year absence in active cycling. He withdrew in 2012. Interesting trivia is that, in the previous three editions of Tour of Croatia, he was engaged as a driver of the safety car in the race, which led him to make a decision regarding his return, so this year he got active in Meridiana Kamen Team, the Croatian-Italian continental team from Pazin. What is even more interesting is that as junior athlete, Baniček achieved remarkably promising results. For example, in 2007, as a 17-year-old, he won third place in the The Race through Istria, losing by an inch from the winner, his peer and current world's best cyclist for one-day road races, Peter Sagan. Year later, he finished the same race at the fourth place.
Field news talked about the extremely windy conditions beneath Velebit. The organizers decided to neutralize the race from the second mountain finish, at the nature park Velebit, to about twenty kilometers, or from 170. to about 190 km of the race.
The opportunity for escape was used by Dutch rider from Aqua Blue Sport team, Peter Koning, who separated from peloton with more than two minutes of advantage. It enabled him the privileged start from Maslenica bridge. Only after two minutes the rest of the race was released, and the strain part of the peloton managed to catch up with the Dutch cyclist after 20 kilometers, 15 kilometers before the final finish.
The truly exciting period came with the first passing through the finish line, followed by another round around the Zadar center. As on Tuesday in Koprivnica, again the right moment to attack was chosen by the Bahrain - Merids Matej Mohorić. He began to separate from the peloton five kilometers before the finish, and two kilometers later he gained between six and seven seconds of advantage. Although he was almost certainly preparing a ground for the new stage victory, same as in the first stage, Niccolo Bonifacio, the Italian failed to win a good position and, at 3.5 kilometers before the end, fell. Mohorič attempted to win, but other sprinters caught up with him about 500 meters before the finish. Eventually, he won seventh place. In overall ranking, he is at the eighth place, 18 seconds behind Grosu, which putts him in the best position to continue the race as one of the most serious contenders for the overall victory.
The third stage of Tour of Croatia will take place on Thursday from Trogir to Sv. Jure on Biokovo. Cyclists will climb up to 1800 meters uphill in the steep section for a length of 134 kilometers.
The race will be daily broadcasted by the Croatian National Television with 11 hours of live TV broadcast and through a total of three hours of highlights. Direct transmission will also be broadcasted on Eurosport, and TV broadcasts will be enabled, in generous collaboration with A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), to numerous television stations on 6 continents - Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia - of which some will broadcast live. This is how the most beautiful postcard from Croatia will once again circle the world. The Spanish production company ISB has been engaged for the technical part of the broadcast, an executive production house for the last 12 Olympic Games, which will shoot the race with cameras during driving and use a special camera helicopter to track the race from air.
Tour of Croatia has received support from the institutional partners and sponsors so the race has a high-level sponsorship of the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, support of the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian National Tourist Board, Central State Sports Office, Croatian Parks, City of Zagreb and numerous other cities and counties which host start and finish positions or are passing cities of some of this year's six stages. Other partners and sponsors include HEP, EnergyPlus, Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, National Park Plitvice Lakes, National Road Safety Program, Karlovačko, Škoda, Jamnica Pro Sport, Pipi, Valamar Hotels & Resorts, Maslinica Hotels & Resorts, Nalini, Vipnet, Uniline, Sixt, Croz, Vina Puhelek Purek, Europlakat, Sports news as a media partner.
Photography available at: https://toc.iwert.com/data/photo/2018/stage_2/