Arnaud Demare closes the Tour de Pologne with a triumphant sprint in Krakow
The 79th edition of the Tour de Pologne ended with a powerful sprint of Arnaud Demare on the iconic Krakow finish line. The Frenchman outsprinted Olav Kooji (Jumbo-Visma) and Phil Bahuaus (Bahrain Victorious), who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Demare also took the white LOTOS sprinters’ jersey, which he won ahead of Olav Kooji. The Groupama – FDJ rider finished the 7th stage in 3h59’20”, with an average speed of 44.574 km/h.
“It was not one of my favourite sprints because I was right in the middle of the bunch with one kilometre to go. I tried to find my way out and saw an opening,” said a super excited Arnaud Demare. “Coming from the back, I was pretty fast and found a way to pass on the left. I knew that if I let Ackermann pass, he would close me down and when I saw that I could pass I took advantage of it and pushed hard and no one was behind me. It was a very nice way to end this Tour de Pologne. At the start in Lublin we knew there would be a lot of sprinters so this victory and point jersey taste even better. I also proved myself in the hard stages because I worked on every little detail and improved my condition. This will definitely be good for me for the rest of the season with the European championships and the last part of the season.”
Today’s 177.8-kilometre stage started in Skawina at Valsir – Poland – and ended in Krakow. After a hilly section, the riders tackled a 5km city circuit, to be raced three times.
After several breakaway attempts which were soon caught by the peloton, Julius Johansen (IWG), Alessandro De Marchi (IPT), Jarrad Drizners (LTS), Syver Waersted (UXT) and Patryk Stosz (POL) managed to distance themselves from the peloton and reach a maximum gap of over 4′.
With around 15km to go, De Marchi attacked from the two remaining breakaway companions, Drizners and Johansen, and set off solo, joined by Nans Peters (ACT). The two escapees were caught just before the final lap. The UNO-X team attempted an unsuccessful attack with 4.2km to go, and the stage ended with a bunch sprint as expected.
Ethan Hayter confirmed his overall lead by becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de Pologne and taking home his first professional one-week Tour of a promising career. The final stage held no surprises for the podium, which remained unchanged with Thymen Arensman (team DSM) 2nd 11″ behind, and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) third at 18″.
“Taking the jersey yesterday was a real opportunity and it was about finishing the good work done. The team was wonderful, especially in the first part of today’s stage where they controlled the breakaway attempts and allowed me to be more relaxed,” said the 23 year-old INEOS Grenadiers rider. “Today was perhaps the most difficult stage because of the great heat. Overall it was a good Tour for me. The third stage with the Przemysl climb and the time trial were two completely different stages but both important. I’m just sorry I crashed in the stage finishing in Sanok, because I really wanted to try to sprint. I will remember this Tour de Pologne for a long time and if I have to isolate a moment, crossing the finish line in the Yellow jersey today was a very strong emotion.”
Thanks to todays’ courageous attacks, Jarrad Rizners (Lotto Soudal) took the best climber PZU jersey, with 23 points on Alessandro De Marchi, while Ineos-Grenadier completed its Polish campaign with a victory in the team classification.
“Our goal today was to keep this jersey within the team and I managed to get in todays’ breakaway. I had a bit of pressure but I’m happy to have done it for the team,” confirmed the young Australian rider from Lotto Soudal. “It was a very special edition for me, as it was my first race back after a serious injury. I had no expectations, and to be able to bring home the first jersey of my pro career is just fantastic.”
Patryk Stosz wore the Lotto Most Active Rider jersey, Ben Tullet regained the Bjorg Lambrecht prize awarding the best U23 rider in the GC ranking. The title of best Polish rider went to Jakub Kaczmarek (POL).
“I am happy to have won it again. What happened to Bjorg affects everyone in the peloton, he was a strong and gritty rider and his memory must not be forgotten. On a personal level it was a good Tour de Pologne, the team did very well, I took fifth place and I am really satisfied,” confirmed Ben Tullet.