Mareczko looked powerful in the closing meters of the race and had everyone on the edge of the seats as he took control of the sprint with 200 meters to go, surging around the final left-hand bend towards the line in a move that looked unstoppable.
In the end, only Nacer Bouhanni (Team Arkea Samsic) had the necessary speed to stop CCC Team’s sprinter from securing his first victory for the Polish WorldTeam, narrowly coming around Mareczko on the line to push him into second place.
The peloton was confident that it could bring the race back together in time for the predicted fast and furious finish and as a result, the day’s early four-rider breakaway, which allowed a maximum advantage of just three minutes 30 seconds on the day’s only categorized climb, was reeled in on the coastal finishing circuit with less than ten kilometers to go.
The exposed roads on the 23.6-kilometer lap saw the wind creating tough and hectic conditions but, after sticking together in the bunch all day, CCC Team was able to rally around Mareczko with Jonas Koch key role, keeping the Italian in his wheel during the messy run back into town and giving him the springboard to push off from to move up through the field before launching his impressive sprint.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“It was disappointing to get so close to the win today and then just miss out at the last moment but I’m happy to see my legs are good. I want to say a big thank you to my teammates for their hard work today. It was a pretty straightforward day and we stuck together in the bunch for most of it before, in the end, they gave 100% to help me. Although it’s a shame I missed out on the win, this result has really given me some good motivation and I’m looking forward to the next sprint.”
Sports Director, Gabriele Missaglia:
“The guys did a perfect job today, we just missed out on the win to really finish off their work. However, I am really happy with everybody. The guys followed our plan to the letter, sticking all together in the group for the whole day. It was an easy stage but really fast and in the final, it was important that Jonas Koch was there for Jakub. He did a really great job and he brought Jakub into the best position possible for the sprint. If you don’t try to win, you can never win so overall we can be pleased with the work we did. Tomorrow is another day so we will see what we can do and hope we can continue to race like this and keep looking for the win.”
Tour de la Provence
Stage 1: Châteaurenard > Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (149.5km)
Top 3: 1. Nacer Bouhanni (Team Arkea Samsic) 2. Jakub Mareczko (CCC Team) 3. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling)
CCC Team Top 3: 2. Jakub Mareczko 29. Jonas Koch 47. Fausto Masnada