Alan Banaszek powered to victory on stage 1 of Carpathian Couriers Race. It was his first professional victory in the UCI race.
After yesterday’s prologue, the U23 peloton faced a 150-kilometer stage. It was held on Hungarian, mostly flat roads, so the profile suited the sprinters.
The race kicked off with numerous attacks. Piotr Brożyna was involved in one of the moves, but nobody was given too much of space by the bunch. The reason for that was the fact, that there were two intermediate sprints, located within first 60 kilometers and many riders in the field who were trying to get bonus seconds and move up in the overall standings. Among them was Michał Paluta, who was sitting 4th in GC and took 3rd place at the second sprint.
Eventually a 6-man break was established and it built up a more significant gap. The move included Patryk Stosz, as he pulled away with James Knox (Team Wiggins), Yuriy Natarov (Astana City), Rocco Fuggiano (Altopack-Eppela-Coppi Lunata), Tymur Maleev (ISD Continental Team) and Jakub Najs (TC Chrobry Głogów).
Stosz, two-time King of the Mountain in this race, took third sprint, but was not able to stay up front until the only KOM of the day. His escape got reeled in with 30 kilometers remaining. Since then it was all together, although there was a late crash, which split the pack. “Riders in orange” were riding at the head of the peloton, avoiding trouble and falling down. Alan Banaszek came out of the last corner very well positioned and finished off his sprint strong, to take the win. He outsprinted Alexander Wachter (Tirol Cycling Team) and Jonas Castrique (Lotto – Soudal U23).
It was a slightly undulating and sometimes windy stage. The pace was very fast and numerous of riders were trying to go clear. My teammates were also very active and we controlled the situation for most of the race. That was the strategy – they were supposed to be aggressive and get into the breakaways and I was supposed to wait for the finish.
The finale was quite nervous. The last kilometer featured an unexpected and sharp corner and two riders ahead of me fell down. I managed to go around them, kick off the sprint and hold off until the line. My teammates did a great job of protecting me and helping me position myself. Michał Paluta was the one to give my the final lead-out.
Next stages are more hilly, so the roles will be reversed and I will be helping my teammates. After the crash in the prologue I’m out of the contention for the final GC – Alan Banaszek said afterwards.
Michał Paluta also made the top 10, as he finished in 8th place and now sits in 3rd place overall.