Today the Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour was shrouded in a surreal atmosphere. There are no words to describe the emotions expressed. There was grieving and there were condolences for what happened yesterday, and all the riders showed the utmost respect to the memory of Bjorg Lambrecht and the pain and loss of his team Lotto – Soudal.
The race organizers, the jury and the teams all agreed that today’s fraction, the 4th stage from Jaworzno to Slaskie, Kocierz, would be neutralized for the entire distance, and there was one less final lap. The total new distance for today’s stage was 133,7 km and the peloton rode at the controlled speed of 30/35 km/h. All the intermediate sprints, points and bonuses were cancelled.
At the start the riders went to the podium to sign in, but there weren’t any team presentations. Everyone observed a minute of silence before the start, with the riders from Lotto-Soudal in the front row alongside the distinguished jerseys.
At km 48, in remembrance of Bjorg Lambrecht’s fatal accident, the entire group stopped to observe a minute of silence with the riders from team Lotto – Soudal in the first row.
Each team rode in front of the peloton for approximately 7 kms. Lotto-Soudal rode the last kilometres in the front. At the finish line another minute of silence was observed and then the peloton crossed the finish line to the applause of the attending public.
It was touching to see how the public behaved along the route as they followed the race, in a somber mood that shared in the sadness of the event. There were also lots of banners made by fans to commemorate Bjorg Lambrecht and his race number, 143.
Today there were no standings and no classifications. The race will restart regularly tomorrow with the 5th stage “Kopalnia Soli” Wielicka – Bielsko-Biala for 154 km, picking up from the classifications recorded at the end of the 3rd stage with arrival in Zabrze.
“The organization would like to thank all the members of the greater cycling family who have shared in the grief of team Lotto – Soudal and the Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour. Their support and condolences in such a difficult time of mourning have demonstrated a moving sense of unity and compassion. We thank the UCI, the UEC, the AIOCC, the CPA, the teams and all the other associations, as well as everyone who has been coming to show their support. We also thank the sponsors, our partners and the departure and arrival host cities, as well as all the places touched by today’s route, who honoured the memory of Bjorg Lambrecht” – Czeslaw Lang, Race Director.