Stage victory for Yauheni Hutarovic at Tour of Poland
Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) took home the first stage in the Tour de Pologne, from Gdansk to Bydgoszcz for 226 km. After an exciting bunch sprint, the Belorussian beat Russian Roman Maikin (Rusvelo) and Italian Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida). For Hutarovich, who gets to wear the first yellow Skandia jersey as leader of the general classification, this is his second career victory in the Tour de Pologne after the one obtained at Katowice in 2010.
The stage was fired up by a break of 5 riders, who stayed ahead of the group from the very first kilometres. Austrian Matthias Krizek (Cannondale), Russian Anton Vorobyev (Katusha), Frenchman Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) and Poles Kamil Gradek (Reprezentacja Polski) and Maciej Paterski (CCC Polsat) kept the break alive. The 5 riders reached a max advantage of more than 13 minutes.
At the beginning of the 3 rounds on the final circuit in Bydgoszcz, with about 18 km to go until the arrival, Paterski tried to break out on his own, then Krizek and Engoulvent got on to his tyre but in the end they all had to give in to the unstoppable group chase which was mostly spurred on by Rafal Majka’s men on team Tinkoff-Saxo. Paterski was the last one to get caught, with about 1.5 km to go to the arrival.
After the sun-kissed departure from Gdansk, during the race the riders had to contend with an unexpected weather change that caused temperatures to plunge from 35° a 18°, with strong wind and rain that unfortunately caused few crashes that involved some important riders as Fabio Aru (who had also a flat tire) of Astana, Julian Arredondo (Trek) and Michael Matthews (Orica GreeEdge). Jani Brajkovic (Astana), Niccolò Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) and Sander Armee (Lotto-Belisol) were forced to pull out of the race.
Hutarovich also clinched the white-red Lang Team jersey for the points classification, while in other rankings Maciej Paterski captured the cyclamen Tauron jersey for the GPM and Jimmy Engoulvent took the blue Lotto jersey for the most active rider in the group. Team Omega Pharma – Quick-Step leads the team classification.
Hutarovich: “It’s my second victory at Tour de Pologne and I had a lot of placements here, so I like this race. The sprint today was complicated, with a short uphill sector in the final and the wet road. The final meters were also slightly downhill so I paid attention to keep my place and not be boxed in. Then I launched my sprint and I kept the speed until the end. I have to thank my team for putting me in the best position possible to contest the sprint. Today we had incredible weather: Hot, wind, then rain and hail. Basically everything. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow on paper there will be room for 2 other sprint finishes. We have a jersey to defend. We will try to go for the victory and to keep the jersey as long as possible.”