World Champion Peter Sagan is the winner of the first stage in the 74th Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour. The Slovakian champion from team Bora-Hansgrohe scored the stage victory and donned the first Carrefour yellow jersey on the finish line of the 130-km inaugural stage, Krakow-Krakow. In the final bunch sprint Sagan beat Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) and Holland’s Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky); Riccardo Minali (Astana) was fourth and Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain Merida) came in fifth.
“I’m happy; it was a fantastic day for me. This was my first race after a three week break and I managed to win from the get go. I have to thank my team mates for the great job they did for the entire stage, setting me up into the best position to go for a good sprint. I’m happy for my fans; we are close to Slovakia and today I really heard a lot of fans cheering me on and the warmth of the Polish crowds. Victory and the yellow jersey, I am delighted. Today everything went smoothly, but I’m going ahead one day at a time because I know there are some really difficult stages coming up; however for those our team will be able to count on Rafal Majka,” says Peter Sagan, whose portfolio includes the victory in the 2011 Tour de Pologne.
The Polish Minister for Sports and Tourism, Witold Banka was a guest at the Tour de Pologne. After he handed out prizes to the kids who raced in the Nutella Mini Tour de Pologne, he officiated the podium ceremony of the pro race, standing alongside the world champion Peter Sagan.
The first stage featured a breakaway by four riders: Poland’s own Pawel Bernas (Polish Team) and Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Dutchman Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Frenchman Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk). They reached a maximum advantage of a little more than 3 minutes. The race commemorated Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, as they passed through his native town of Wadowice. However the pack didn’t cede too much room to the attackers, pushed on in particular by the men from team Bora-Hansgrohe and Orica-Scott, who were set on carrying their respective captains, Sagan and Ewan, into the final sprint.
Out of the four fugitives the last ones to surrender were Paterski and Keizer, who got caught by the pack right before entering the first lap of the 4km final circuit to be repeated three times. The break allowed Martijn Keizer to garner enough points to wear both the Tauron cyclamen jersey for the GPM and the Lotto blue jersey for the most active rider in the group.
The group was highly compact as it headed to the finish line, under the constant thrust by Bora-Hansgrohe and Orica-Scott. In the last lap Daniel Oss (BMC) made an initial attempt, followed by Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal); then with 1.7 km to go until the arrival Davide Martinelli (Quick-Step Floors) tried making a move. At about 300 metres from the arrival there was a pileup in the front part of the pack after a rider from team Dimension Data took a fall, but the top sprinters were already all ahead in the final dash for the finish line and Peter Sagan managed to get the best of everyone else. Peter Sagan now wears the Carrefour yellow jersey as leader and the Hyundai white jersey for the points classification.
Pawel Franczak (Polish Team) leads the Polish best rider classification. Gazprom-RusVelo leads the teams classification.