August 3, 2014 – Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) took home the first stage in the Tour de Pologne, 226km from Gdansk to Bydgoszcz.
peloton/Tour de Pologne/Szymon Gruchalski/IMGstudio
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 his victory at Katowice in 2010.
“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.” said Hutarovich.
The stage was animated by a break of five riders, who attacked the group from the very first kilometers. 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 five riders reached a maximum advantage of more than 13 minutes.
At the beginning of three final circuits in Bydgoszcz, with about 18km to go until the arrival, Paterski tried to go solo, then Krizek and Engoulvent joined him but in the end they all had to give in to the unstoppable group chase which was spurred on by Rafal Majka’s team Tinkoff-Saxo.
Despite the sunny start strong wind and rain caused a few crashes that involved important riders Fabio Aru (Astana), Julian Arredondo (Trek) and Michael Matthews (Orica GreeEdge). Jani Brajkovic (Astana), Niccolò Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) and Sander Armee (Lotto-Belisol) were forced to retire from 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.
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