British Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is the winner of this year’s CRO Race driven from Tuesday till Sunday with the finish line at the St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb.
Yates won with the advantage of 22 seconds ahead of the second Italian Davide Villella from Kazakhstan’s team Astana and 29 seconds ahead of the third Spaniard Victor De la Parte, member of American CCC team.
For 27-year-old Yates who ended in the fourth place at the 2016 “Tour de France”, this is his second career victory on the stage race. Until today his best score was at the race in Turkey in 2014. At the beginning of this year he took the second place in the "WorldTour" races "Tirrenno-Adriatico" and "Volta a Catalunya".
Except of the red jersey for the overall winner, Yates also won the green jersey for the best climber at CRO Race. His team-mate from Australia, Alexander Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) won the blue jersey for the best in the points standings, while Kazakhstan's Vadim Pronskiy from Astana, the team which won the team title, won the white jersey for the best young driver under 23.
The top-ranked Croatian cyclist was 40-year-old Radoslav Rogina (Adria Mobil) who finished in tenth place overall with 2:09 minutes behind Yates.
Winner of the sixth stage driven from Sveta Nedelja to St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb is Italian Alessandro Fedeli, a member of French Delko Marseille team who drove through the finish line with two seconds ahead of the second-placed Slovenian Jan Tratnik, member of Bahrein-Merida, and the third-placed Austrian Florian Kierner from Felbermayr Simplon.
Fedeli was in the leading eight who made a breakaway from the peloton right from the start of the race in Sveta Nedelja, and riding it bravely through the streets of Zagreb, he was able to remain at the front all the way to the finish line. Fedeli attacked his breakaway companions during the penultimate lap driven in the city centre of Zagreb, about 10 kilometres before the finish line. Although Kierner, Dutchman Stef Krul (Metec-TKH) and Austrian Florian Gamper (Tyrol KTM) were constantly only 10 seconds behind, they failed to catch him, while the peloton with Bahrain-Merida in the lead misjudged when to go after the 23-year-old Italian, who achieved his fifth professional career victory. Yates crossed the finish line in the seventh place, 5 seconds behind Fedeli, but that was enough for him to increase his advantage in overall standings from 15 to 22 seconds ahead of Villella.
Yates was presented the award by the Minister of Tourism Gary Capelli, while the winner of the stage, Fedeli, received the award from the Mayor of the City of Zagreb Milan Bandić. The President of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša, presented the award for the best team to Astana Pro Team, while Frane Barbarić, President of the Bord at HEP d.d. gave the award for the best classification points to Australian Edmondson. Yates is also the best climber of the race for which he received the award from the Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Igor Kreitmeyer. Vadim Pronskiy was given the award for the first place in the young riders under 23 years old classification by the Mayor of the city of Zagreb Milan Bandić. Awards for the second and third place were presented by Deputy State Secretary at the State Office for Sport Krešimir Šamija and Head of Strategic Marketing Projects Department at Croatian National Tourist Board Dubravko Šimenc.
The last, sixth stage was driven from Sveta Nedelja to Zagreb. The start in Sveta Nedjelja was officially opened by the Mayor of Sveta Nedelja Dario Zurovec, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia H.E. W. Robert Kohorst and Ivana Alilović, Director of the Tourist Board of the Zagreb County, in behalf of Stjepan Kožić, the Prefect of Zagreb County. During the sixth stage in length of 154 kilometres riders had the opportunity to ride through Velika Gorica, Dugo Selo, Vrbovec and St. Ivan Zelina in Zagreb County with the two final laps in the length of six kilometres in the city centre of Zagreb. Velika Gorica, Dugo Selo and Vrbovec were hosts of intermediate sprints while the City of St. Ivan Zelina was the host of the only climb on the stage.
Right after the start 8 riders made a breakaway from the peloton, Austrian Florian and Patrick Gamper from Tirol KTM, Florian Keirner and Patrick Lehner from Felbermayr Simplon, Dutchmen Dylan Bouwmans and Stef Krul (Metec-TKH), Italian Alessandro Fedeli (Delko Marseille) and Slovenian Matic Grošelj (Ljubljana Gusto Santic). Those 8 made advantage with over four minutes wining the awards from intermediate sprints and mountain classification. Since none of the riders in the breakaway wasn’t in the lead for winning the first place of the three winning categories (overall standings, best points and best climber), those scores didn’t affect the overall standings.
Although by entering the Zagreb advantage of the breakaway dropped to only minute and a half, and it seemed that the winner would come from the peloton, young Fedeli had other plans and with a fantastic solo-run achieved a nice victory.
As previous years, the race was broadcasted daily by Croatian National Television with 12 hours of live TV broadcast and a total of three hours of highlights. The direct transmission was also broadcasted on Eurosport, and TV broadcasts was enabled, thanks to the collaboration with A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), to numerous television stations on 6 continents - Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia – in as many as 190 countries of which some broadcasted live. A new element this year was that the largest cycling online video site GCN streamed the program live for the US audience. In addition to that, the race was also available at numerous flights of intercontinental airlines which provide sports programs to their passengers. The technical part of the broadcast had been assigned to Spanish production company ISB, an executive production company who broadcasted more than ten editions of the Olympic Games. The company recorded the race with cameras while moving and used a special helicopter to accompany and record the race from the air.
Since 2015, when the race was launched under the name of Tour of Croatia, this project received support by the highest level state institutions such as the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Central State Sports Office, Parks of Croatia, National park Plitvice Lakes, City of Zagreb and many other cities and counties which host the start and finish or are passing cities of some of this year's stages. Next to HEP as the head line sponsor, numerous sponsors and partners are also involved in the race: EnergyPlus, Škoda, Jamnica Pro Sport, Porsche Inter Auto, Uniline, Valamar, Maslinica Hotels & Resorts, Jadran Crikvenica Hotels & Camps, Europlakat, Sixt, Vina Puhelek Purek, Quest, Segafredo, Keindl sport, Bianchi, Elite, Bilić-Erić Security, media and production partners ISB, Sportske novosti i A.S.O. As all previous years, safety on the roads is guaranteed in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and the National Road Traffic Safety Program.
Destination partners of the first stage this year are the City of Osijek and the Tourist Board of the City of Osijek, the Osijek-Baranja County and the Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County, the Požega-Slavonia County and the Tourist Board of the Požega-Slavonia County with the cities of Kutjevo, Pleternica, Požega, Pakrac and Lipik.
On the second stage, the destination partners are the City of Senj and the Tourist Board of the City of Senj, the Zadar County and the Tourist Board of the Zadar County, the City of Zadar and the Tourist Board of the City of Zadar.
On the third stage, the destination partners of the CRO Race are the Okrug Municipality and the Tourist Board of Okrug Municipality, the Split-Dalmatia County and the Tourist Board of the Split-Dalmatia County, the Brela Municipality and the Tourist Board of Brela Municipality, the Baška Voda Municipality and the Tourist Board of the Baška Voda Municipality, the Tučepi Municipality and the Tourist Board of the Tučepi Municipality, Podgora Municipality and the Tourist Board of the Podgora Municipality and the City of Makarska and the Tourist Board of the City of Makarska.
Fourth stage destination partners are Starigrad Municipality and Tourist Board of Starigrad Municipality, Zadar County and Tourist Board of Zadar County, City of Senj and Tourist Board of the City of Senj, City of Crikvenica and Tourist Board of the City of Crikvenica, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and Kvarner Tourist Board.
On the fifth stage, the destination partners are the City of Labin and the Tourist Board of the City of Labin, the County of Istria and the Tourist Board of the County of Istria, the City of Opatija and the Tourist Board of the City of Opatija, City of Rijeka and Tourist Board of the City of Rijeka, the Municipality of Čavle and Tourist Board of the Municipality of Čavle and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and Kvarner Tourist Board.
Destination partners of the final sixth stage are the City of Sveta Nedelja and the Tourist Board of the City of Sveta Nedelja, Zagreb County and the Tourist Board of the Zagreb County, the City of Velika Gorica and the Tourist Board of the City of Velika Gorica, the City of Dugo Selo and the Tourist Board of the City of Dugo Selo, the City of Vrbovec and the Tourist Board of the City of Vrbovec, the City of Sveti Ivan Zelina and the Tourist Board of the City of Sveti Ivan Zelina and the City of Zagreb.