Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) pulled off quite the feat at the finish line in Koscielisko, in the first of the two final mountain stages in the Tour de Pologne: he has captured victory and now wears the leader’s yellow jersey.
In a three-man arrival at the finish line, Vingegaard, the 22 year old Dane, bested Russia’s Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) and Australian Jay Hindley (Team Sunweb), with whom he had gone on the attack at about 20 km from the finish. This spectacular and challenging stage saw the group take on 5 laps of a rollercoaster circuit on the mountains surrounding Zakopane, one that left very little to chance.
Behind them at the finish line, Colombian Sergio Higuita (EF – Education First) took fourth place and fifth place went to Poland’s own Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe), who appeared to be the most active among the top riders today.
Jonas Vingegaard is in his first year among the pros, and this is his first victory in a World Tour race, so also the most important in his budding career. Vingegaard comes from Denmark and is 22 years old, just like the unfortunate Bjorg Lambrecht; when Jonas crossed the finish line he pointed to the heavens, a clear dedication to the Belgian rider who died three days ago here at the Tour de Pologne.
Vingegaard now leads the general with 4” on Sivakov and 6” on Hindley. Tomorrow will be the last, most gruelling stage on the mountainous circuit in Bukowina Tatrzanska. The classification is still very close, with all the best riders just seconds apart. Diego Ulissi is in fourth place at 17”, Colombian Higuita is fifth at 18” and Italian Champion Davide Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe) is in seventh place at “20, as is Poland’s Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) , who already won the Tour de Pologne in 2014 and is the hometown crowd favourite.
Here’s a recap of the race
Today there was the perfect terrain for attacks. The race set off from Zakopane, then there were 5 mountainous laps of 28,9 km each, to take on before the final arrival in Koscielisko. A breakaway of about 30 riders took off almost right away. After about 50 km of the race, on the second gpm of the day, four men broke out of this group to attack: Poland’s Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal), Germany’s Simon Geschke (CCC Team), Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale) and Czech Petr Vakoc (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
The situation changed once again with about 40 km to go to the arrival, when some other riders caught up to the four fugitives, forming a new lead group of about 20 riders, which included practically all the best riders in this Tour de Pologne, like: Rafal Majka (BORA-hansohgre), Davide Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe), Pavel Sivakov (Ineos), Geoghegan Hart (Ineos), Ben Swift (Ineos), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Ion Izagirre (Astana), Merhavi Kudus (Astana), Petr Vakoc (Deceuninck Quick-Step), James Knox (Deceuninck Quick-Step), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida), Jay Hindley (Team Sunweb), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale), Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Darwin Atapuma (Cofidis), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton Scott), Simon Geschke (CCC Team), Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma), Taco Van der Hoorn (Jumbo Visma) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma).
Then at the 25 km mark, still more riders joined the lead bunch. Grmay (Mitchelton Scott) and British National Champion Swift (Ineos), managed to break out in a convincing lead, with Swift managing to keep up the pace and continuing the attack solo. Sivakov (Ineos), Hindley (Sunweb) and Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) were hot on his tail. With 6 km to go to the arrival, these three caught up to Swift and passed him, continuing to attack. Then they came off the last gpm of the day ahead of everyone else, 2,5 km from the arrival, with a 15” lead, full-speed downhill, and on the final uphill km to the finish line in Koscielisk, Vingegaard busted out a winning move to beat Sivakov and Hindley.
With today’s break, Tomaz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) captured the Tauron magenta jersey for best climber. This is a prestigious jersey, which he already won in 2012 and 2013, so he will be trying to defend it to the end.
Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) hangs on to the lotto blue jersey as the most active rider in the group.
The Lotos white jersey for best sprinter has been passed to the shoulders of France’s Marc Sarreau (Ag2r – La Mondiale), following the withdrawals of Pascal Ackermann and Luka Mezgec, who called it quits today.
Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) leads the Lotos classification as the best Polish rider.
Team Ineos leads the team classification.
“A great victory for my young career, today’s stage and the yellow jersey: it was definitely a fantastic day for me. I’m really happy and proud of my victory. But I still think there is a big shadow over it, you know, with the unfortunate death of Bjorg Lambrecht. It’s so sad and I’m really sad about it. I think it’s something that just shouldn’t happen in cycling, and I’m thinking about his family and his friends and his team. It’s just incredibly sad. Tomorrow will be the last day of the Tour de Pologne and I will be starting the stage as leader of the race. The ambition is to defend the jersey. Considering how I rode today I think I have a possibility. So, we’ll see tomorrow. I think there is no pressure on me from the team. I’m still young, so above all else we want to try to defend the jersey and I hope I can” says Jonas Vingegaard today’s winner and new yellow jersey.
“Today I attacked immediately in the beginning of the stage and this break earned me the Tauron jersey. As we said, we continue this race because we want to fight for Bjorg so there were a lot of attacks. The first hour of the race was really hard. Finally, I made it in to the breakaway and I decided to fight for this jersey, to show our fighting spirit to everybody. I made it and I am really happy” says Tomasz Marczynski.
“The sensation after two hours, when we started on the first uphill, everything was hard. The first 100 k I was feeling so bad but later I started to feel better and better and then in the end we tried with Davide Formolo. I was starting to feel better and Davide started to pull but there was too much gap to close and there were so many attacks in the end. It’s still not finished but I think today’s stage was harder than tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be all in” says Rafal Majka.