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Jonas Vangenechten surprisingly emerged as the fastest in a bunch sprint to take career’s biggest victory in Katowice, while Petr Vakoc maintained a lead in the Tour de Pologne general classification.

Photo: ASO / B. Bade

JACOPO GUARNIERI

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JONAS VANGENECHTEN

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LOTTO-DSTNY

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LUKA MEZGEC

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TOUR DE POLOGNE

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06.08.2014 @ 17:19 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Exactly as it was expected, everything came down to very fast and physically demanding bunch sprint in the Tour de Pologne 2014 edition longest stage from Tarnów to Katowice, in which Jonas Vangenechten (Lotto-Belisol) surprisingly emerged as the fastest to take career’s biggest victory to date. Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana), Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) and Sasha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) fought a very close battle for second sport, eventually finishing in the exact order.

 

Omega Pharma-Quick Step kept Petr Vakoc safe near the front of the peloton and the young Czech easily maintained his lead in the general classification.

 

Having mostly raced in hot conditions the 164 remaining riders had different conditions for the start of the longest stage of the race. Right from the beginning, it was raining heavily and the temperature was just around 18 degrees.

 

That didn’t dampen their aggressive spirit as the first part of the stage was very fast. Right from the gun, Maciej Paterski (CCC) launched the first attack and he was joined by Pawel Bernas (Poland).

 

The pair failed to get clear and so the attacking continued. CCC were very active and the Polish team had a rider in the break when a 5-man move finally got clear.

 

Alexander Rybakov (Katusha), Boris Vallee (Lotto Belisol), Jerome Cousin (Europcar), Branislau Samoilau (CCC) and Andrey Solomennikov (Rusvelo) made up what seemed to be the break of the day and they quickly built an advantage of 1.50. However, OPQS assumed their position at the front of the peloton and started to bring down the gap which was down to less than a minute after 35km of racing.

 

Two riders tried to bridge the gap but like a later attempt from Bernas, it was unsuccessful. The peloton again slowed down and the gap reached a maximum of 3.10 while Vallee won the first special sprint

 

However, the peloton suddenly started to chase again and brought the gap down to less than 2 minutes where it stayed for a little while. David Boucher (FDJ) was the next rider to try to bridge the gap but he didn’t make the junction either.

 

With 148km to go, the break was almost caught and Cousin made one final attempt to get clear. He had no luck though and surprisingly early, the race was back together.

 

While the sun had come out, this opened the door for new attacks. Christian Meier (Orica) made a promising move and was joined by riders from Sky, Cannondale and Poland. However, CCC brought it back together, with Matthias Krizek (Cannondale) launching an immediate counterattack.

 

The young Austrian was joined by Josh Edmondson (Sky) and while the pair worked hard to stay clear, Mateusz Taciak (CCC) bridged the gap. For the first time, the peloton took a small breather and allowed the gap to reach 4 minutes.

 

While Krizek won the second special sprint, the chase got organized as Omega Pharma-Quick Step brought the gap down to just 1.50 with 100km to go. At the first intermediate sprint, it was back up to 2.35 and now Belkin and Giant-Shimano had started to work for their sprinters.

 

Krizek beat Taciak and Edmondson in the sprint and the order was the same in the second battle for bonus seconds and points. Lately, the gap has been kept around the 2-minute mark.

 

Swapping turns at the front, Giant-Shimano, Belkin and Omega Pharma-Quick Step brought the gap down to just 1.40 again as escapees reached the ultimate intermediate sprint of the day at the 175-kilometre mark, with Krizek taking all points again.

 

Breakaway’s advantage continued to decrease and wet down to 1.20 with 55 kilometers to go as sprinter teams continued to set a steady pace at the front of the peloton, however, a main group took a little breather again after reaching second feed zone of today’s stage, reluctant to catch escapees to early.

 

The gap between escapees and the main group was still around 1.10 when a breakaway entered a final circuit in Katowice. As the peloton slowed down a bit, Jerome Cousin (Europcar) and Przemysław Kasperkiewicz (Poland) took an opportunity to go clear and quickly gained a 35-second advantage.

 

Three escapees eagerly contested the first KOM sprint of today’s stage on 204-kilometre mark where Taciak turned out to be the strongest, ahead of Edmondson and Krizek, but a cooperation in a two-man chase was going well and they managed to bridge a gap after next four kilometers.

 

Edmondson was the only escapee interested in contesting the penultimate KOM sprint of the day, and the advantage of now five-rider breakaway went down to only 39 seconds as they entered a third lap of the final circuit. From this time on, however, Polish representation rider Kasperkiewicz started to take massive turns at the front of a group, working impressively hard to hold back a chase led by Giant-Shimano, OPQS and Belkin.

 

Taciak won the last KOM sprint of the final circuit to take over a lead in the mountains classification, and while a five-rider breakaway looked to be doomed with only 20-second advantage at the 225-kilometre mark, Cousin and Kasperkiewicz decided to take off.

 

The duo managed to gain an advantage over their former companions, but survived at the front of the main group only for next three kilometers, with the young Pole being the last escapee to be reeled in by the peloton.

 

From this moment on, with 8 kilometers to go, several riders tried to attack, certainly inspired by impressive achievement of Taylor Phinney last year, but all moves were brought back by highly motivated sprinter teams.

 

Exactly as it was expected, everything came down to very fast and physically demanding bunch sprint, in which surprisingly Jonas Vangenechten (Lotto-Belisol) emerged as the fastest to take career’s biggest victory to date, while Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana), Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) and Sasha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) fought a very close battle for second sport, eventually coming in that order.

 

Omega Pharma-Quick Step kept Petr Vakoc safe near the front of the peloton and the young Czech easily maintained his lead in the general classification. 

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