The opening stage of the race saw the riders tacking three laps of a nearly 38-kilometer circuit which featured the category two Dobogókö climb and it was on the last ascent of this climb that the race really heated up with the day’s early breakaway caught and some of the General Classification contenders looking to try their luck.
Valter was one of eight riders that attacked nearing the summit of the climb, which came 17 kilometers from the finish, and pushed on hard, trying to take the group all the way to the line, but with riders starting to look to one another to do the work, the chasing peloton closed in on them just in time for the finish.
In the end, as a result of the pressure applied at the front of the race following the attack involving Valter, it was a reduced bunch that powered towards the line and with Gradek well-placed, the Polish rider was able to contest the sprint, eventually taking fourth place behind Jon Aberasturi (Caja – Rural Seguros RGA).
Valter and Łukasz Wiśniowski both finished as part of this first group but unfortunately, Kamil Małecki, who was also there, got caught up in a crash after the final corner just meters from the finish line and was taken to hospital for observation. An update will be provided on his condition when possible.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“Before the start, I was confident that I could make a good result on the stage so, to be honest, I am a little disappointed with fourth, I was thinking top-three was possible. On the final climb, we decided that Attila would try to pull on the front to increase the tempo and make the race hard to reduce the size of the group. He was really strong and he went with some other GC guys and opened up a gap. However, the peloton caught them only a couple of kilometers from the finish line and thankfully I was still feeling good so was able to try to do something. Małekci, who I hope will be okay after his crash, helped keep me in a good position for the sprint but in the end, it was so hectic, this is the best result I could do.”
“I felt really good today. Coming into the race, I thought this short stage would be full gas all day long but actually it was easier than I imagined, to be honest. I tried with an attack on the final time up the climb so our guys didn’t have to work and also to give myself a chance. We had enough of advantage to make it to the finish line I think, but the cooperation wasn’t there so that destroyed the group and so we were caught with two kilometers to go. I’m happy I gave it a shot and that the legs were super today. On the flat stages over the next few days, I will be trying to save energy for the climbs and the GC battle on the final day.”
Tour de Hongrie
Stage 1: Esztergom > Esztergom (118km)
Top 3: 1. Jon Aberasturi (Caja – Rural Seguros RGA) 2. Kaden Groves (Mitchelton – SCOTT) 3. Adam Ťoupalík (Elkov – Kasper)
CCC Team Top 3: 4. Kamil Gradek 17. Łukasz Wiśniowski 27. Attila Valter