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"I’m proud to be able to wear the yellow jersey, however I’m aware that the race is still going to be long and hard; I’m young and I am still trying to understand how far I can go and what my limits are.”

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele


12.07.2016 @ 23:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Davide Martinelli (Etixx-QuickStep) delivered a major surprise in the first stage of the Tour de Pologne when his attack in the finale allowed him to narrowly keep the field at bay in Warsaw. His teammate Fernando Gaviria beat Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) in the sprint for second to make it a 1-2 for Etixx-QuickStep and Martinelli is of course the first leader.


We have gathered several reactions.


Davide Martinelli: I am still trying to understand where my limits are

We're midway through the season and Davide Martinelli can already run for the best neo-pro rider of 2016 award. After joining the team in the winter, the rider who hails from Brescia needed just eight days to notch up his maiden victory of the year, which came at the inaugural edition of Tour La Provence. After that success, he combined team duty with strong individual results, such as the top 10 finishes he got in the general classification of Ster ZLM Toer and in the individual time trial race at the National Championships.


After his home race, Martinelli took a break and began building for the second half of the season, which he kicked off at the Tour de Pologne, on Tuesday, with a flat stage between Radzymin and Warsaw, over a distance of just 138 kilometers. On paper, the parcours was flat, but still had several traps for the riders inside the last kilometers, when an uphill drag, a cobbled section and a few technical corners were poised to make the fight for the win more exciting and difficult.


Just as the riders were entering the final kilometer, Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) tried to forge a gap, but was immediately countered by Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner Zdenek Stybar. The peloton soon split and in the chaos created, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) tried to take advantage of the situation and accelerated, but Davide Martinelli came on the Belgian's tail, passed right by him and continued all the way to the line, scoring his first World Tour victory of the season. Etixx – Quick-Step's perfect day was rounded out by the strong placings of Fernando Gaviria and Stybar, who finished second, respectively fourth, their results taking the squad to the top of the teams standings.


"In the last kilometer, just before the cobbled part, I took the corner full gas and saw Stybar pass me, as he was closing an attack of Kwiatkowski. Then I followed Gilbert, who made a move, and seized the moment. I looked over my shoulder twice, noticed that I have a gap and realized I can win. It's a dream to take my maiden World Tour victory and I'm very happy. It's a special day which I'll always remember", said 23-year-old Davide Martinelli – the first leader of the Tour de Pologne – who nabbed Etixx – Quick-Step's 35th victory of the season.


“This is my second season victory, my first ever in a World Tour race. Our designated leader for today was Gaviria, but in the final kilometre when I saw Gilbert following Stybar’s tyre, I understood it was the perfect time to make a move. I came out of the last curve in the lead, turning a couple of times to get a sense of the situation behind me and where my team mates were, and when I realized that I could make it, it was an incredible feeling and I gave it all I had, all the way to the finish line. I’m proud to be able to wear the yellow jersey, however I’m aware that the race is still going to be long and hard; I’m young and I am still trying to understand how far I can go and what my limits are.”

Caleb Ewan close to victory in Polish opener

22-year-old Caleb Ewan produced a strong sprint on today's opening stage of theTour of Poland to finish in third place.


The short, fast stage concluded with a late attack by Davide Martinelli (Etixx-Quickstep) with just 600metres to go. Ewan was forced to open up his sprint early in an attempt to catch Martinelli, however the Etixx-Quickstep rider was able to hold off the charge to steal the stage one victory.


Sport director Dave McPartland praised the ORICA-BikeExchange team efforts, controlling the race well throughout the furious final circuits.


"The last three kilometres were really choppy, no team could really take control," explained McPartland. "The final six circuits were full gas all day, it was strung out and the riders said being on the front felt like the final of a race, and that was from 80kilometres to go."


"Throughout these finishing circuits we used up most of our team to keep Caleb near the front and out of trouble.


"Martinelli made a move on the uphill cobble section within the final kilometre which caused Caleb to hit out early. It was a little longer than he wanted, and that actually set up Martinelli's teammate, who came past on the line. 


"It was forecast to be bad rain all day, but it never really eventuated, and having done this stage in previous editions we knew how dangerous the circuits were so we tried to make a presence at the front, to try to take control and stay out of trouble. Svein Tuft did an awesome job riding on the front for most of the day.


"Caleb did all he could today with the final situation and tomorrow is another really good opportunity for us. The form is there, he is sprinting well."


Moreno Hofland gets confidence from first sprint in Poland

Moreno Hofland finished fifth in the first stage of the Tour de Pologne today. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter started his sprint in Warsaw just a little bit too late. Davide Martinelli (Etixx - Quick Step) won.


“It was a chaotic first day,” Moreno Hofland said. “There was some rain predicted and that would have been tricky on this profile. It stayed dry, fortunately.


“This was my first race since a while and it went quite well. I did the final part of the race together with Dennis van Winden. I only lost his wheel for a little while during a descent, but I had enough speed to get back with the first five riders in the group. I came through the final turn in third position, eventually, but I doubted for a second to start sprinting. The riders behind me made their move immediately and boxed me in. I’m fed up with that.”


Sports Director Addy Engels sees some other chances for Hofland, this week.


“We’re going to play a role in the bunch sprints with Moreno, this week,” he added. “And on the days that are too hard for the sprinters, we have Enrico Battaglin. Primoz Roglic is aiming for the general classification.”


The second stage on Wednesday is comparable to the first one.


“Normally, it’s going to end up in a bunch sprint,” Engels concluded. “We’re going to approach it the same way as we did today.”


Strong start for Philippe Gilbert in Polamd

Tour of Poland Stage 1 lived up to expectation with the race coming down to a final sprint for the line which saw Philippe Gilbert finish sixth behind stage winner and new race leader, Davide Martinelli (Etixx-Quick-Step)


Alessandro De Marchi spent most of the day out at the front of the race for BMC Racing Team. He was part of a six rider breakaway that made a move off the front of the peloton after only eight kilometers and was able to extend a maximum advantage of 3 minutes 30 seconds.


When the peloton started to pick up the pace behind them, this advantage started to come down quickly but after over 100 kilometers out in front, De Marchi proved he still had some energy in his legs and launched a solo attack.


It was not meant to be however and eventually the race was brought back together for the final 10 kilometers. Attacks continued right up until the final 600 meters of the race before the race for the line came down a technical bunch sprint.


Sports Director Max Sciandri said: “We wanted to have somebody in the breakaway and we were keeping an eye out for any moves at the start. Alessandro said he was feeling good and wanted a bit of a leg opener to do a bit of an effort so that was really good for him.


“We then had the rest of team working hard to keep both Philippe and Ben [Hermans] in a good position for the final section of the stage. We thought both of them could be well placed to finish able to do well today and in the end it was Philippe who was in the best position at the end to be involved in the sprint.”


Philippe Gilbert said: “Today was a short stage but really technical and fast. We had Alessandro in front which was good for us and we tried to stay as a team in front but it was not easy to organise. Danilo [Wyss] did a really great job to bring me to the front on the last two kilometers and onto the final cobbled climb. The main goal was to avoid losing time today as it was technical final and we wanted to be in front to get the same time as the leaders.”


Alessandro De Marchi said: “With 25 kilometres to go I was still feeling good so I thought I would attack and find out what shape I was really in. I knew it was going to be really hard to go all the way to the finish especially with how fast the peloton with riding but I knew that I had nothing to lose so I thought I would give it a go. For me, it just felt like the right moment to do that.”


Strong Kevin Reza hesitates in hectic Polish sprint

For FDJ, Kevin Reza took seventh place in the first sprint after a long escape from Marc Fournier.


"The guys are in the game even if we had some bad luck in the final," says sports director Jussi Veikkanen. "To get a good position for the car in the line of sports directors, Marc Fournier joined the early break with five other riders and took bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. He was caught 20 kilometers from the finish.


"In the end we had no luck. Murilo Fischer had a mechanical problem 5 kilometers from the finish, so we lost a centerpiece for the preparation of the sprint. Yoann Offredo then suffered a puncture with 3km to go. We focused on Lorrenzo Manzin who knew the approach to the finish with the small cobbled climb. He was actually up there last year, but it was a well-fought sprint 


"Martinelli (Etixx-Quick Step) attacked in the final kilometer and Kevin Reza hesitated to follow. It's a shame because Martinelli made it with the peloton finishing just behind him. So, Kevin took seventh place but our riders have done a beautiful stage. "


Michal Kwiatkowski: I felt I had to give it a try

Michal Kwiatkowski finished eighth on stage one of the Tour of Poland after a late attack in Warsaw.


Kwiatkowski hit out with around a kilometre remaining and quickly built a gap on the bunch, but three riders went with the Pole, including the eventual stage winner Davide Martinelli (Etixx - Quick-Step).


Martinelli then went again as the peloton closed back on the foursome and Kwiatkowski was unable to stay with the Italian, who forged clear to claim the opening honours of the week-long WorldTour stage race.


The stage looked certain to end in a bunch sprint until Kwiatkowski hit the after burners, with the big favourites Fernando Gaviria (Etixx - Quick-Step) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) primed in the peloton, but the head of the bunch quickly fractured as riders tried to get back on terms with the former world champion.


Elia Viviani was well positioned with three kilometres to go but unfortunately collided with a crash barrier, although he was able to remount and come home two minutes down.


Behind Martinelli, Gaviria and Ewan sprinted to second and third respectively, while Kwiatkowski rolled home eighth after the opening 132km blast.


“I knew the circuit was quite insidious, so I tried to stay ahead and in the final, when I saw the chance to take action I went for it,” declared Kwiatkowski, the best Polish rider at the finish line. “I knew it would be difficult to make it to the finish line; today Etixx – Quick-Step really gave a great performance but I had to try something in front of this crowd and all my fans. Anyway, it was a good test, I feel like I’m in good shape and now we’ll see what happens in these next several days.” 


Nikias Arndt fails to finish off strong Giant-Alpecin lead-out in Poland

Team Giant-Alpecin were visible at the front with Nikias Arndt in a good position. Arndt was the first rider to finish for the team in 13th place.


Nikias Arndt said: “Today we had a good start in the Tour of Poland. It was a short stage with weather conditions changing the whole time. It was necessary to be focused and stay in front which we did. Into the finale we had the team together and could do a perfect lead out into the last km. The guys rode really well today but at the last uphill section the last punch was missing to get into position for the sprint. But how we rode today gives me a lot of confidence for the next stages.”


Coach Morten Bennekou added: “I think that the team did a pretty good job today on a short sprint stage. We worked really well for Nikias’ possibilities in the finale but in the end, a small climb with 1,5 km to go was too hard for him and he finished in 13th place.”


Movistar stay in contention in Polish opener

While the lads directed by Chente and Arrieta continued chasing their #SueñoAmarillo in France, the 73rd edition of the Tour de Pologne started on Tuesday with a 135km parcours between Radzymin and Warsaw. The Polish capital received Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Alex Dowsett, Rubén Fernández, Dayer Quintana, Rory Sutherland, Fran Ventoso and Giovanni Visconti with a seven-lap, 13.8km city course.


Spaniard Fernández (15th) was the top Movistar Team performer at the finish - a nine-second split separated the first 40 and the rest of the field - and kept the José Luis Jaimerena / José Luis Laguía-led group at the front in a fast, dangerous ride over slightly wet surface. Davide Martinelli (EQS) took a late attack to fruition and yellow jersey in the opening day of a course that will face a long transfer to the south before stage two tomorrow - 153km from Tarnowskie Góry to Katowice.


Niccolo Bonifazio caught out in first sprint in Poland

Stage one of the Tour of Poland opened with a short 135-kilometer race ending with seven 13.8-kilometer circuits in the capital of Warsaw where a late attack on the final climb snatched victory from the sprinters.

Niccolo Bonifazio found himself squeezed on the wrong side of the road when Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) launched on the corkscrew-like climb with 1.5 kilometers to go; his positioning lost he finished in a disappointing 16th place.


"We were focused on the finish with Niccolo and the guys did well to get him into good position at the end," explained director Dirk Demol. "But he was caught on the wrong side when the attack went on the last climb and blocked. With a short climb like that, there is always the possibility of attacks. Niccolo, of course, is disappointed, but that's how it sometimes goes – that's cycling. Tomorrow we will try again."


Kwiatkowski's acceleration drew out three others, including Philippe Gilbert (BMC). When the quartet hesitated, and the peloton breathing down their necks about to make the catch, Davide Martinelli (Etixx-Quick Step) countered. With the twisty turns in the final meters, he managed to hold off the charging peloton and snatch the win.


Both Marco Coledan and Ryder Hesjedal punctured in the final 20 kilometers. It was a hard effort, but Hesjedal was able to rejoin with help from the team and finished safely with the bunch.  


"It was a fast race, no one took it easy because it was the first day," pointed out Hesjedal, the team's GC leader. "It was a complicated circuit, and at the start of the day the roads were really slippery and that just adds to everything. We were lucky that the circuits were dry with the cobbles and tricky turns. We all made it through, and will look to the next days."


Tomorrow the Tour of Poland continues with another predominantly flat parcours expected to end in a bunch sprint, and stages three and four offer much of the same. Hesjdeal and the rest of the GC contenders will have to wait until the final three days to play their cards.


Rein Taaramae crashes on first day in Poland

The first stage of the 73rd Tour of Poland (Tour de Pologne) took place on Tuesday with an opening sprint stage ending in Warsaw at 135 km. For Team KATUSHA the goals are later in the week, but team director Claudio Cozzi likes what he saw in the first of seven stages for the Polish tour.


”It was not a stage for us since we came here without real sprinter. The main thing was to pass this stage safely and not to lose time. Unfortunately, we had a crash of Rein Taaramäe with only 500 meters to go, but he is ok. The circuit was quite dangerous with a lot of corners and slippery roads. We were lucky the rain started only after the finish. I am happy with the team. The guys did a good job. In the end Vorobyev and Lagutin worked well protecting our GC guys, Chernetckii, Spilak and Taaramäe. It's a pity Rein crashed, but hopefully without any consequences. So we are looking forward to this week, ” said director Claudio Cozzi.


The top rider for KATUSHA is Sergei Chernetckii in 17th place at 10-seconds.


Aggressive start for VERVA in Tour de Pologne

VERVA Activejet’s Paweł Franczak finished 18th in stage 1 of 2016 Tour de Pologne.


German rider Jonas Koch found himself in the breakaway of the day and represented VERVA Activejet colours in the leading group of six. The group cooperated well and the 23-year-old contested the battle for points at intermediate finish and a categorized climb, picking up points for 2nd and 3rd place respectively.


The peloton kept the breakaway short on a narrow circuit in Poland’s capital and didn’t let the advantage grow mich.  As the attackers faded, counterattacks started. Łukasz Bodnar put the VERVA Activejet jersey at the front but was soon reeled in.


“The final was really dangerous. It was raining and the roads were really slippery, especially on the cobbled part. I think Adam [Stachowiak] crashed and lost some skin. It was not a classic finish, I was trying to stay at the front but I couldn’t do much on a narrow road, as I stayed too far back earlier on. Onto the next stage, tomorrow is also a chance for me,” Franczak said.


Dimension Data sprinters unable to sprint on first day in Poland

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were hoping to have Kristian Sbaragli and Youcef Reguigui in the mix for the finale. The African Team were not able to take part in the sprint finish after being caught out of position in these technical closing kilometers.


Crash takes Andrea Guardini out of contention in Poland

"I am growing and now I have completely recovered from the bad accident I had in the Tour de Langkawi,” commented Ruslan Tleubayev.


Tleubayev arrived with the best in the first stage of the 73rd edition of the Tour de Pologne, proving to be at 100% after breaking his collarbone in four parts in February.


"It was a nervous stage with a final circuit in the old city full of pitfalls,” said Astana sports director Alexander Shefer. “It was a shame with the crash of Andrea Guardini and Bahktiyar Kozhatayev but it was nothing serious fortunately.”


Tinkoff stay safe in dangerous Polish opener

The first fluo Tinkoff jersey over the line was Juraj Sagan in 25th, on a stage that presented few opportunities for the team in Poland.


“Today was a short, flat day suited to the sprinters and our plan was focused around sticking together and keeping Jespen Hansen safe for the GC fight,” explained Sport Director Jan Valach after the finish. “In the final it was all together and our guys finished safely in the bunch without any problems which was the main goal for today’s stage.”


All eight of the Tinkoff riders finished safely in the peloton, including Daniele Bennati who was making his return to racing after over three months out following his crash at Milan-Sanremo.


Mixed day for ONE in Poland

After only 8km, the official break of the day left the front of the peloton. 6 riders including Pete Williams gained a max advantage of 3 minutes 40 seconds after 24kms of racing. Once the race hit the finishing circuit the peloton quickly saw how technical the local laps were and with the rain starting to pour, decided to bring the break back within a reachable distance and holding the leaders at 2 minutes for the next 16km’s.


As the riders approached the first King of the Mountain classification of the day, the break was only 60 seconds. Pete Williams was on the hunt for the KOM, but launching his move early he was narrowly beaten for the single point at the top of the climb.


ONE Pro Cycling began to get themselves into position to deliver sprinter Chris Opie, both Karol Domagalski and Matt Goss working at the head of the race.


After a solid day in the break for Pete Williams, the team working for designated sprinter Chris Opie became disconnected, with Opie then caught out of position and not able in contention for the sprint.


Jaroslaw Marycz takes first mountains jersey in Poland

Jarosław Marycz was part of the day’s main breakaway in the opening stage of Tour de Pologne and became first leader of the King of the mountains classification.


”We knew we had to have at least one representative in the break. Many of us tried to break away - Michał Paluta, Maciej Paterski, but it was me, who happened to make the escape,” Jarosław Marycz said afterwards. “We were aiming for the KOMs and intermediate sprint, since two jerseys were up for grabs.  On the first categorized hill I gave it all to win it. Unfortunately the peloton didn’t let us contest the second KOM. Maciej Paterski remained alert though, attacked to take it and secured the King of the Mountains jersey for our team. We will try to deliver it all the way to end – it doesn’t matter, whether is is on my shoulders or my teammate’s.


”I also tried to win the intermediate sprint, but in the very last moment Fournier passed me. Still, I can be satisfied with the stage. We got the jersey, so the minimal plan was fulfilled.”


Since Marycz and Paterski both arrived with the same time the KOM jersey went to the former. He is just 2 seconds ahead of his colleague in the general classification due to bonus seconds gained in the intermediate sprint earlier in the stage.


Quiet start for Novo Nordisk in Poland

“This was my first race since Korea, so I am still looking for some speed in the legs. For the first race in the second part of the season, I’m happy with my form,” Novo Nordisk’s Charles Planet said. “Today, I didn’t want to take too many risks because of the wet cobblestones and technical finish. I aimed to stay safe and look forward to the next few days of racing and hope to be active in this race.”



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