Julian Alaphilippe is on the verge of wrapping up the general classification at the Tour de Slovaquie.
Already one of the most successful neo-pro of the season, with four victories under his belt, 22-year-old Fabio Jakobsen finished runner-up on the penultimate stage of the Tour de Slovaquie, which traveled from Dubnica nad Vahom to Nitra, over 180.6 kilometers dotted with three classified climbs – Vrsatec, Homolka and Skycov – the latter topping out more than 40 kilometers from the finish, one which promised to bring the sprinters in the spotlight for the first time this week.
Containing just two riders, the day's breakaway didn't enjoy too much space, having at all times the peloton led by Quick-Step Floors on its heels and opening a 2:30 lead after the first two climbs only to see how it got eroded under the impetus of Iljo Keisse, whose work paid dividends on the slopes of the last ascent, where the leading duo got pegged back.
In Nitra – one of Slovakia's oldest cities, whose first mention dates back to the ninth century – a bunch sprint was inevitable, and Quick-Step Floors were represented by two riders in the hectic finale, Fabio Jakobsen and Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert, who finished second and third respectively, behind Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-hansgrohe), the Italian who emerged in the last meters to take the victory.
Yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe safely arrived home and after navigating without any difficulties through this third stage of the Tour de Slovaquie, has moved a step closer to taking the overall standings at the 62nd edition of the race. Ahead of the stage to Nitra, the 26-year-old carries a comfortable advantage in the GC, which should be enough for him to become the first Frenchman in six decades to win the race.
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