Carpathian Couriers Race 2014: Gregor Mühlberger powers to victory and takes the overall lead

Gregor Mühlberger (Tirol Cycling Team) won stage 3 of Carpathian Couriers Race, a time trial in Horni Lidec, Czech Republic. 20-year-old mastered the 30km out-and-back course with a time of 43:50, topping his teammate and runner-up Patric Schultus by 23 seconds.

Austrian rider started the day sitting 3rd in overall standings and thanks to his performance on Czech soil managed to claim orange jersey.

- It was a tough time-trial, I found it hard to get into the right rhythm. But I love hills and mountains and I was feeling very good today - Mühlberger said just after podium ceremony.

Small time differences among top riders after two days of racing forecast a fierce battle against time on a very hilly and highly technical course. To ensure the level playing field, the jury had previously announced that only road bikes are allowed and no additional equipment may be used.

Early-starter Patric Schultus (Tirol Cycling Team) commenced the rivalization by breaking the barrier of 45 minutes and taking command of the stage. 152 riders tried to go faster than 44:14, but were unable even to get close - the benchamark set by young Austrian rider seemed to be impossible to beat.

- I am a time-triallist but I can ride well on a hilly course, too. Our plan is to keep the jersey. We're strong and I believe we can do it - said Schultus.

Dutch riders accepted the challenge - Jo Piels' Koen Bouwman missed it by only two seconds, while his teammate Elmar Reinders managed to take top10 position, putting his time-trialling prowess on display.

With last 20 riders leaving the ramp, gaps on the finish line began to narrow. Bauknecht Author's Przemysław Kasperkiewicz stopped the clock after 44 minutes and 24 seconds, finishing 3rd, only 9 seconds slower than his Austrian peer. Stage 2 runner-up Eduard Grosu also presented his potential, losing only a handful of seconds to Polish rider.

They were all, however, racing for the second place. Gregor Mühlberger roared around 30km course in a stunning time of 43:50, distancing rivals by nearly half a minute and taking the overall lead, as the orange jersey wearer - Jochem Hoekstra (Jo Piels) crossed the line over a minute down on him.

Tomorrow race leaves Slovakia and enters Poland for two more demanding stages. Mühlberger will be defending the jersey against the trio - Grosu, Bouwman and Kasperkiewicz. His advantage of 35 seconds seems safe for now, but the fate of podium places is yet to be decided, as three riders are separated by only 7 seconds.

Results:

1. Gregor Mühlberger (Tirol)                              43:50
2. Patric Schultus (Tirol)                                00:24
3. Koen Bouwman (Jo Piels)                                00:26
4. Przemysław Kasperkiewicz (Bauknecht Author)            00:33
5. Elmar Reinders (Jo Piels)                              00:36
6. Eduard Grosu (Vini-Fantini-Nippo)                      00:38
7. Antoine Warnier (Color Code Biowanze)                  01:00
8. Jean-Albert Carnevali (Wallonian National Team)        01:06
9. Daniel Turek (Czech Republic National Team)            01:12
10. Jochem Hoekstra (Jo Piels)                            01:13

General classification after stage 3:

1. Gregor Mühlberger (Tirol)                           06:33:46
2. Eduard Grosu (Vini-Fantini-Nippo)                      00:35
3. Koen Bouwman (Jo Piels)                                00:40
4. Przemysław Kasperkiewicz (Bauknecht Author)            00:42
5. Jochem Hoekstra (Jo Piels)                             01:06
6. Jean-Albert Carnevali (Wallonian National Team)        01:13
7. Antoine Warnier (Color Code Biowanze)                  01:15
8. Daniel Turek (Czech Republic National Team)            01:27
9. Szymon Rekita (Polish National Team)                   01:38
10. Frantisek Sisr (Czech Republic National Team)         01:42

Full results

source: carpathianrace.eu

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