This year Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) is the winner in the temple of speed in Katowice in the second stage of Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour. With a fantastic burst of speed the Italian sprinter beat Holland’s Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) and the German Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb). Boy Van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo) was fourth and Algerian National Champion Youcef Reguigui (Dimension Data) was fifth.
The Van Poppel “dynasty” is making quite the splash in this first part of the Tour de Pologne. Danny, who was born in 1993, is Boy’s younger brother – he was born in 1988; and they are the sons of Jean-Paul Van Poppel, profressional cyclist between ‘85 and ’95. JeanPaul was the winner of 9 stages at the Tour, where he also won the green jersey; 4 wins in the Giro and 9 in the Vuelta. Danny came in second today and third yesterday in Krakow to prevail in the general classification and snatch the yellow Carrefour jersey from the current World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
This is the fourth win of the season for Sacha Modolo, the first one of the year in a World Tour race.
“It’s a World Tour race, and I won in front of big names. I have to say it’s the most important victory of my season so far. Today in the sprint I used my instinct. It’s the 3rd or 4th time that I’ve done this stage and sprint here, but I never really liked this finish: it’s for powerful riders. My skills are a bit different; I’m more of a rider for slight uphill finishes. I wasn’t vying for this stage today, considering the condition I was in yesterday and the fact that the Tour de Pologne is my first race in one and a half months. Yesterday I didn’t have super legs, I lost a bit of the race rhythm but today immediately after the start I noticed that I was feeling a lot better compared to yesterday. Everything went perfectly today. Sometimes the line between winning and losing is a question of small details. I found Ferrari in the right place at the right time and I used the slipstream of the other riders to launch my sprint. There was a headwind so it wasn’t an easy sprint to interpret. Tomorrow I will have to work for our climbers. We have 4 riders who can shine, Niemec, Rui Costa, Conti and Anas. Let’s hope to do well with them tomorrow, and then I will try again,” says Sacha Modolo.
Today Modolo reached a max speed in the sprint of “only” 74.74 km/h, since this year there was a headwind. In fact, in past editions at this finish line speeds have come closer to 80 km per hour.
“It was a hot day, and we knew the finish would be very fast so we focused on the final lead out. The team did a great job, and it was really close. I’m a little bit disappointed (to not win the stage) but, yes, I have the leader’s jersey and it will be nice to race tomorrow in it, in such a big race. It’s my first time in Poland actually, it’s a really nice country, for my first visit. The rest of the race will be hard. I have two Polish teammates Golas and Wisniowski that have told me about it. They told me about the finish of today, that it was very fast, so I put a 56 on, it was almost a victory, after not a great start to my season. It’s a good way to start the second part of my year” says the new yellow jersey Danny Van Poppel.
The race. The second, 142 km stage from Tarnowskie Gory to Katowice featured a break by 4 riders, starring Polish National Champion Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and his fellow countryman Kamil Gradek (Polish Team). They were with Finland’s Joonas Henttala (Novo Nordisk) and Dutchman Martijn Keizer (Lotto NL – Jumbo), who had already attacked in the first stage breakaway. His aim today was to defend both the blue Lotto jersey and the cyclamen Tauron jersey that he captured yesterday in Krakow. However the group didn’t let them get too far out, allowing them a maximum advantage of about three minutes. Out of the four fugitives the most generous was definitely National Champion Adrian Kurek, who broke away from the other attackers for a solo start to the final circuit (three 17 km laps) in Katowice. His attempt was nullified during the first of the three laps by the relentless group chase, with another Pole who had been caught after a break yesterday, Pawel Bernas (Polish Bernas), trying to get a jump on the pack.
At the start of the last lap Daniel Oss (BMC) made his move, and then there were a succession of repetitive attacks in the final kilometres, including Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors), then Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), then, with about 2 km to go to the arrival, Petr Vakoc (Quick-Step Floors) gave it a go… all to no avail; the group left no space for anyone again today, forming a compact bunch travelling at breakneck speeds as they headed into the final, slightly downhill straightaway, where Sacha Modolo got the best of Danny Van Poppel and Max Walscheid.
Danny Van Poppel also donned the white Hyundai jersey for the points rankings. Dutchman Martijn Keizer hangs on to the cyclamen Tauron jersey for the mountain grand prix while the blue Lotto jersey for the most active rider in the group has passed to the shoulders of Adrain Kurek. Kamil Gradek leads the Lotos classification for the best Polish rider. In the team classification, team Dimension Data is in the lead.