An Eastern wind is blowing over the Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour. Everything was decided in the 7th stage from BUKOVINA Resort to Bukowina Tatrzanska. It was 153 km with plenty of climbs. On one side there was a battle for stage victory. On the other a battle for the Carrefour yellow jersey.
The young Slovenian Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Merida) won the stage, at the end of a long break that began from the very first kilometres. At first, he was in the company of another 14 riders, and then he ended up all by himself for almost 100 km, finishing solo on the finish line, with his arms raised in the air in tribute to Bjorg Lambrecht. Second place went to the American Neilson Powless (Jumbo-Visma) and Italy’s Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) was third.
The final victory in the Tour de Pologne all came down to the final metres, with a compelling head-to-head between the three top classified men, where Russia’s Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) emerged as the winner. Second on the final podium was Australian Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) at 2”; third place went to Italian Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) at 2”; Colombian Sergio Higuita (EF-Education First) was fourth and Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) was fifth at 14”. The best Polish rider and hometown favourite Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) was ninth at 16”; unfortunately, he was unable to repeat the success he enjoyed here in 2014.
Here’s a recap of the race
After setting off from the Bukovina Resort, on the challenging circuit in Bukowina Tatzanska there was an immediate break, which was initially made up of 14 riders: Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), Michal Golas (Ineos), Simone Pettili (UAE Team Emirates), Clement Chevrier (AG2R La Mondiale), Tomasz Marczynski e Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto-Soudal), Simon Gaschke and Serge Pauwels (CCC Team), Mathias Le Tournier (Cofidis), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Merhawi Kudus (Astana), Carlos Betancur and Jose Rojas (Movistar) and Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott).
Out of these riders, the most active was Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric, who was already brilliant in the 5th stage Bielsko-Biala. Soon after he would strike out on his own in a lone attack.
At about 45 km from the arrival, on the second-to-last gpm of the day, the first rider to make a move in the yellow jersey group was Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe), staging an attack along with Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) and Ion Izagirre (Astana). This acceleration wasn’t great for the yellow jersey group, which started to break up even further.
With about 37 km to go to the arrival, only Mohoric remained out front; all the other fugitives had been caught by Vingegaard’s yellow jersey group and the rest of the best.
With 33 km remaining until the arrival, on the second to last lap over the finish line in Bukowina Tatrzanska, the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) lost contact with the group of top riders.
At 26 km from the arrival, Mohoric came off the day’s last gpm solo, with about a one minute lead, while the group of the best riders behind him was being spurred on in a decisive pace by Italian Champion Davide Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo).
With 17 km to go to the arrival, Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Pawel Poljanski (BORA-hansgrohe), Neilson Powless (Jumbo-Visma) e Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott) took off in hot pursuit of Mohoric. Then Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Daniel Garcia Navarro (Katusha Alpecin) also started to give chase.
On the final climb towards the final finish line in Bukowina, Mohoric hung in there all the way, to go on to earn a well-deserved and fantastic stage victory. In the trailing pack there was an epic final battle for the yellow jersey, from which Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) emerged triumphant over Jai Hindley (Sunweb) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
In the other classifications…
Germany’s Simon Geschke (CCC Team) won the head-to-head with Marczynski by three points to capture the Tauron magenta jersey for best climber.
France’s Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) won the classification as the most active rider in the group to wear the Lotto blue jersey from the first day to the last.
France’s Marc Sarreau (Groupama-Fdj) won the Lotos white jersey as the best sprinter.
Poland’s Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) earned the Lotos classification for best Polish rider in the general classification.
Team Ineos won the team classification.
“I was really focused to get in to the breakaway today. I was thinking from the start that I spent a little too much energy to get into the breakaway because some of my friends from the start got neutralized. But in the end, I felt OK and I said to myself that it would be a good idea to anticipate all the riders in the breakaway because the pace was not fast enough and the group was catching up to us. I thought some other guys would come and join me in the front but I got quite a big gap before the last big climb and nobody caught up so I tried to go on my own. Fortunately, in the back they started to play games and it was possible for me to stay away” says the stage winner Matej Mohoric , in career World Champion JR at Limburg 2012 and World Champion UN23 at Toscana 2013.
“This yellow jersey was a victory that started yesterday. Yesterday was chaos and today was much more controlled. Of course, the victory was built yesterday and today was more about controlling that and trying to drop the leader and take the jersey and this is what happened. The team was amazing once more. Today Geoghegan was super impressive. He was along with me in the final and maybe he was even stronger than me in this race, and he dedicated himself as my wingman, so I want to thank all the guys for that. We have a really young, strong squad, there is a good atmosphere among us and I would say the future is looking pretty good. Now my next objective is to try to do something at the World Championships. I won’t be going to the Vuelta so I will try to do something there” say the TDP winner in yellow Carrefour jersey Pavel Sivakov.
“It was definitely a nice week. Of course, we always want to win. Especially here with a Polish World Tour team, it was sort of our home race. We came here to win a stage and it turned out well. On a world level it’s never easy so in the end we came home with the mountain jersey which is a nice reward for a really offensive race. We tried to be as strongly offensive as we could and this is a nice reward” says the Tauron magenta jersey Simon Geschke.
“This is a fantastic moment, for sure, it is the biggest achievement in my career. It’s been a really tough week from 7 days ago, from the first day in breakaway and four days in breakaways. These last two stages after the crash I was in a bit of trouble but I managed really well; my team mates were amazing in helping me get to the finish within the time limit. I am really proud and I hope I inspire many people with diabetes. I’m just really happy and for sure I will celebrate this jersey tonight” say the Lotto blue jersey Charles Planet.
“We tried to do something in this final, but maybe we weren’t super centered. But we need to be happy, this is like preparation before the Vuelta. Formolo and I are feeling really good. We did really well and we are happy. We won two stages, two guys in the Top 10. Yeah, for sure we wanted more but this is the sport of cycling. Every day you learn something and maybe we’ll have more luck in the next appointments” says the best Polish Rafal Majka.