Fast Finish Decides Stage Two of the Tour de Pologne
Kamil Gradek was CCC Team’s top finisher on stage two of the Tour de Pologne, which ended with a bunch finish and a win for Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT).
The day unfolded in a similar way to stage one yesterday with another two-rider breakaway going clear and the bunch keeping everything under control from start to finish.
The duo gained an advantage of over six minutes early into the stage but, as the peloton was nearing the 19.1-kilometer finishing circuit in Katowice, which would be covered three times, the gap went down to under two minutes with CCC Team riding attentively in the bunch keeping Mareczko out of trouble.
The breakaway was reeled in with 16 kilometers to go as the peloton started the final lap and from that point on, it was all together until the very end. The stage came down to a fast finish with an uphill approach to the flamme rouge and a gentle downhill stretch to the line.
CCC Team tried to position Mareczko, who sprinted to sixth place the day before, for the tough finale but this time he was unable to contest the sprint and in the end, Gradek was the team’s top finisher behind winner, Mezgec.
Race Reaction from Inside the Team Car with Sports Director, Sports Director, Piotr Wadecki:
“Today we wanted to go for the sprint with Jakub Mareczko, who showed that he’s in a good form yesterday, and that’s why we didn’t try to go into the breakaway. We were just focusing on the finale but unfortunately, Jakub didn’t have good legs and it was not his day so, he was not able to position himself for the sprint. Today’s stage didn’t play out the way we had hoped but, we will continue to try and tomorrow will be another opportunity for Jakub to take a nice result.”
Tour de Pologne
Stage 2: Tarnowskie Góry – Katowice (153km)
Top 3: 1. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) 3. Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe)
CCC Team Top 3: 29. Kamil Gradek 47. Amaro Antunes 49. Paweł Bernas
Prudential RideLondon – Surrey Classic: Koch First Across the Line for CCC Team After Dramatic Finale
Jonas Koch was CCC Team’s first rider across the line at the Prudential RideLondon – Surrey Classic after trying his luck in what turned out to be a reduced bunch sprint to the line, won by Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), following a dramatic and crash-marred finale.
After a fast start to the race, which saw Nathan Van Hooydonck, Gijs Van Hoecke and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck jumping in the early moves, a three-rider breakaway went clear and opened up an advantage that reached a maximum of three minutes 30 seconds on the first of five ascents of the famous Box Hill climb.
It was on the new Box Hill circuits that the peloton steadily started to pull the leading trio back before, with the gap down to around two minutes on the penultimate climb, with 67 kilometers remaining, attacks started to fly off the front of the bunch.
With all of the day’s official climbing complete, the race really started to heat up as the sprinters’ teams worked hard to close the gap to the last two riders from the breakaway, a goal which was eventually achieved inside 15 kilometers to go.
It wasn’t long before CCC Team moved up into the first part of the peloton, battling against some of the larger lead-out trains to try to get Koch in the best position possible for what looked like an inevitable bunch sprint to the line.
However, a fast and chaotic final five kilometers saw a crash split the field dramatically just before the flamme rouge but fortunately for CCC Team, none of the team’s rider were involved and Koch was on the right side of drama and able to power to 14th place after being blocked on the right hand side of the road when the sprint was launch.
Race Reaction from Inside the Team Car with Sports Director, Steve Bauer:
“We tried to put a guy out in front with our three Belgian riders trying to jump in the various early moves but, unfortunately it didn’t work out. Of course, it would have been nice to have had someone up there to even try to go for the KOM prize at the end of the day.”
“The race then started to open up at around the halfway mark but again, we weren’t so lucky at this point, as Fran Ventoso had a mechanical here but he fought back hard before the last climb of Box Hill. It seemed like that final ascent of the climb wasn’t hard enough to make a huge selection so, inevitably it was maybe one of the biggest group’s we’ve seen at this race going to the finish line.”
“With five ascents of Box Hill, this year’s race looked like it might be harder on paper but, it’s the riders who decide the outcome of the race and that prediction was not what we saw in the end.”
“Our goal was then to position Jonas Koch into a good position so he could do his best performance in the sprint and the guys did a nice job at that and he was luckily on the right side of the split when the pile up happened. Luckily for us, none of our guys were involved in that so I am happy everyone is leaving this race safe and healthy.”
“There was a lot of fresh legs in the bunch at the end of the race with a lot of guys still in the game so, not one team was dominant and that obviously made the finish more hectic. I think of course, if Jonas was in a better position, or even if the crash didn’t happen, maybe he could have finished higher up the field but, that’s racing.”
Prudential RideLondon – Surrey Classic
One-day race: London (Bushy Park) > London (The Mall) (169km)
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) 2. Sam Bennet (BORA – hansgrohe) 3. Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
CCC Team Top 3: 14. Jonas Koch 44. Nathan Van Hooydonck 46. Michael Schär