After two days of nearly complete dominance in the Tour de Taiwan, including two fantastic victories, the five young IPT men learned today that defending the yellow jersey is quite a tough and exhausting task.

The team’s up-and-coming Sports Director Lahav Davidzon summarized what unfolded in the 155-kilometer stage in a pretty colorful way: “Today, we were a bit ‘ambushed‘. We came out of it okay, but it could have ended differently.”

The third day of the Tour de Taiwan was not supposed to be a battle of attrition. The original plan for the team was to leverage the great form of the Israeli champion, Itamar Einhorn, to achieve two goals in one strike: a stage win with the Israeli champion and the top priority of defending the yellow jersey worn by British rider, Mason Hollyman.

However, the plan went awry when, right after the start, an endless series of attacks began from riders looking for the breakaway and maybe an opportunity to go for the jugular. IPT’s young team, including the yellow jersey holder himself, were forced to chase down almost every dangerous attack on their own, without assistance from some of the other stronger teams in the race.

Eventually, a breakaway group of ten riders managed to get away and, with the help of strong tailwinds, opened a gap of about two minutes. This gap proved to be a very difficult task to close due to the strong winds and high speed.

IPT’s five continued to do most of the chasing. “It was a predictable scenario. I have no complaints, but it made the race very hard for us,” said Itamar Einhorn later, who had to give up on his personal victory ambitions and worked hard with his teammates to close the gap in order not to lose the yellow jersey. The effort paid off in the end. The breakaway group members crossed the finish line first, led by the stage winner, Australian Bentley Niquet-Olden.

However, the main task was completed successfully, and Hollyman managed to maintain his 4-second lead in the General Classification.

With only five riders per team, it’s such a hard thing to control,” said Mason. “You know, we won two stages and, to be fair, I think the other teams had it in for us today. Nothing against them for that; we would have done the same if another team was in the same position. They made it a super hard day for us, but our boys did an incredible job today. They gave it their all, and we saved the day. For sure, we will keep fighting.