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Having made it into a star-studded break, Majka joined Rutkiewicz to form a duo before beating his companion in a sprint duel at the Polish championships; Janiszewski finished third

Photo: Sirotti






26.06.2016 @ 20:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) proved that he is ready to support Alberto Contador at the Tour de France by claiming his first Polish road race title in unusual fashion. Having escaped with Marek Rutkiewicz (Wibatech - Fuji), he used his sprinting skills to beat his rival in a duel before Rutkiewicz' teammate Sylwester Janiszewski won the 10-rider sprint for third.


In 2014, Rafal Majka last did the Tour de France on the back of a top 10 finish at the Giro d'Italia. Back then, he arrived in France in excellent form and left the race with two stage wins and the mountains jersey.


If today's Polish championships can be used as an indication, history could repeat itself. Today Majka showed that he will be a key rider for Alberto Contador by taking his first national road race title.


The 222km course in Świdnica was very demanding, with six 37-kilometer laps that included two hard ascents: a longer and steeper climb to Polczyk and a shorter hill to Modliszów. The race was on right from the start. A 9-man group that included Tomasz Kiendyś (CCC) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) got cleat early but the cooperation was not going well and after gaining a 1-minute lead, they got caught.


Another move was created by the top level riders. Maciej Paterski (CCC), Michał Kwiatkowski, Michał Gołaś (both Team Sky), Rafał Majka (Tinkoff), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora Argon 18), Łukasz Wiśniowski (Etixx Quick Step), Łukasz Bodnar (Verva ActiveJet),  Kamil Zieliński (Domin Sport) and Marek Rutkiewicz (Wibatech Fuji) got clear and later Marcin Mrożek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Karol Domagalski (ONE Pro Cycling) and Bartosz Warchoł (Author Whirpool) were able to bridge across, rounding out a 12-rider group.


On one of the descents, Kwiatkowski, Gołaś, Majka, Huzarski, Wiśniowski, Zieliński and Rutkiewicz took off. The rest of the group was caught.


The leading septet was working well together, but the peloton led by the CCC and Verva ActiveJet was far from giving up. They started to cut down the gap and when it was down to less than 2 minutes, Rutkiewicz and Majka launched an attack on the Palczyk climb. The duo created a solid advantage and was not looking behind.


Meanwhile the pace in the reduced bunch was picking up and the rest of the escapees got caught on the final lap. Rutkiewicz and Majka maintained a solid lead and survived all the way to the line. On the last climb, the Tinkoff rider tried to drop his rival, but the Wibatech Fuji rider closed the gap on the descent.


It was all decided in a two-rider battle at the finish. Majka didn’t let the white-and-red jersey slip away and sprinted to victory, leaving Rutkiewicz with silver medal. The 10-rider chasing group arrived 1:39 later. Łukasz Owsian (CCC) was very active in the finale, but his moves were neutralized. Sylwester Janiszewski (Wibatech Fuji) beat Wiśniowski and Paterski in the sprint for bronze.


Majka will make his debut in his new jersey at the Tour de France.



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