Krakow was the main judge of the 77th edition of the Tour de Pologne – UCI Worldtour, and the last chance for the sprinters to show their fast legs. The last stage started with Richard Carapaz abandoning the race as a precautionary measure after yesterday’s fall.
The early breakaway, formed after the first KOM of the day exactly when the peloton split into three groups, was composed by Luke Rowe, Geoffrey Bouchard, Hugo Houle and James Whelan, and later joined by Jos Van Emden, Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz and Alexis Gougeard. The fugitives were caught soon after the first lap of the circuit in Krakow, thanks to the hard work put in at the front by Deceuninck – Quick-Step, BORA-Hansgrohe and Lotto Soudal, pulling at a very high speed in the last kilometers.
A brilliant Davide Ballerini, going determinedly after success since the second stage, won the sprinters’ battle in the last 200 metres. The Italian rider realised his dream, beating a powerful Pascal Ackermann, who tried to anticipate the sprint, and the neo-pro Alberto Dainese.
This was a perfect day for the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, with the 20-year-old Belgian, Remco Evenepoel, winner of the fourth stage, topping the general classification sponsored by Carrefour.
Patryk Stosz is the official winner of the best climber classification presented by PZU, while the title of best sprinter, supported by Lotos, goes to Luka Mezgec. The Team Mitchelton-Scott takes the Energa best team prize and Maciej Paterski becomes the most active rider of the 77th edition. Home hero Rafal Majka keeps his best Polish rider title sponsored by Lotos.
Remco Evenepoel – DQT “The biggest win of this week is Fabio’s, against his injury. The first news we had from the hospital was that he was fighting for his life. He has now already improved, and I think that’s the biggest victory. From the moment we got the news that he was out of the coma and starting his rehabilitation, the team had an incredible boost, a crazy motivation to race as hard as possible for him, and we took the win yesterday, we took another today and we take the GC home. So, in the end we took three stages – all right, the first was not really a stage we wanted to get. However, the number is still there, we can say that we really dominated this race with the team, Fabio just gave us the strength, he showed us how to fight and suffer. That’s how we took in the last couple of days.”
Davide Ballerini – DQT “It was a great victory, even if it wasn’t easy as we keep thinking of Fabio. The past days and nights were really bad but we kept our focus on the victory and the general classification with Remco. We did it. Also today we started with full gas on the climbs. It wasn’t easy but we kept going and we rode very well with the team, and I really want to thank them for it. We won the stage and the general and I think it’s the best thing we could do, and we now support Fabio with our minds and hearts. Our doctor updated us on Fabio’s condition besides staying all day with us as well, and if I can say something to Fabio it’s please keep fighting to recovery. Not easy but out of danger now.”
Rafal Majka – BOH ‘We started the race with a few options for the general classification, and we also wanted to win stages with Pascal. So all in all, I think we balanced these two ambitions quite well. Of course, I would have liked to have finished on the podium, but in the end, I finished four seconds behind Simon Yates, who took third in the GC. So we can see from the race that I’m in good form.“