Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe) prevailed in the sprint to win the first stage in the Tour de Pologne UCI World Tour, 132 km Krakow-Krakow. In an exciting sprint, the German rider beat Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Denmark’s Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
This victory has earned Ackermann the first Carrefour yellow jersey as leader in the 2019 edition of the Tour de Pologne, as well as the Lotos white jersey as best sprinter, thus repeating the same feat he achieved one year ago here on the finish line in Krakow. This is Ackermann’s third career victory in the Tour de Pologne, his seventh in the 2019 season, with highlights that include two stages in the Giro d’Italia and the magenta jersey as best sprinter in the Corsa Rosa.
The stage in review…
Starting off from the fantastic backdrop provided by “Rynek Glowny”, the central marketplace square in Krakow, the 76th edition of the Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour was officially underway. The first part of the stage was lit up by a breakaway with three riders, who got out front from the very beginning: two riders from the Polish National team, Adrian Kurek and Jakub Kaczmarek, along with Frenchman Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk).
Alas, after about 20 km there were only two riders left, Kaczmarek and Planet, after Kurek slid and fell on the road made slippery from the rain that had fallen before the start. Following tradition, the route for the Tour de Pologne passed through Wadowice, the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. The break reached a maximum lead of about 3’30” with the group being pulled by the sprinters’ teams, especially BORA – hansgrohe, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and UAE Team Emirates, which never let the attackers get too far ahead. Unfortunately, there was a fall in the pack with about 17 km to go to the arrival, in which two riders from Cofidis,Solutions Credits, Italian Filippo Fortin and Spaniard Luis Angel Mate were involved, and they were forced to withdraw from the stage. The two fugitives, Planet and Kaczmarek, were then caught by the pack at the beginning of the first of 3 laps (of 4 km each) on the final circuit in Krakow. Another fall in the last lap, about 4 km from the finish line, put Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) out of the sprint; however, he did manage to finish the stage. Everything came down to the final sprint, with Ackermann beating out Gaviria and Jakobsen.
Thanks to today’s break, Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) captured the Tauron magenta jersey as the best climber, and Jakub Kaczmarek took the Lotto blue jersey as the most active rider in the group. Furthermore, Kaczmarek earned enough bonus points to put him in second place in the general classification, 3” behind Ackermann; he is also in first place in the Lotos classification for the best Polish rider. UAE Team Emirates leads the team classification.
“The game here in Krakow was over the top, I think it’s great for me to be the winner and also the finish was amazing for me and I think… I already did it last year and I knew how to race here. I spoke with my lead-out man Rudy Selig and I said to him we have to stay really calm and I’d say we did perfect today. Now the pressure is on; we’ve won one stage and now we’ll try to continue like this,” says the winner Pascal Ackermann in Carrefour yellow jersey.
“For me this was an awesome day. Thanks to the break I got the blue jersey and I am the best Polish rider in the general. This for me is already a great result; I come from a Continental team, and to be here at the Tour de Pologne with my National team is a fantastic experience; for us this is a very important race. Now I’ll take it day by day and try to defend this jersey for as long as possible,” says the Lotto blue jersey Jakub Kaczmarek.
“This magenta jersey is a nice prize after the first stage and a nice breakaway. We got invited to this World Tour race, as we are a pro continental team. It is important for us to show ourselves out front in the breakaways and today my goal was to be there and to get the jersey. And actually, it was really nice that we got this jersey and I’m really proud for our team and for all people affected by diabetes. As you know, Team Novo Nordisk is not only cycling; we also have an important message for people with diabetes. We all have type 1 diabetes and we inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes and today I hope I can show them what we can do with diabetes. This jersey means a lot for me and for our team. It will be really nice to wear this tomorrow and of course I will fight to keep it for as long as possible,” says the magenta Tauron jersey Charles Planet.