Mateusz Taciak claimed second consecutive victory, by winning the “queen stage” of Bałtyk – Karkonosze Tour. He also moved up to 2nd in the final standings and Paweł Cieślik stopped onto the overall podium as well.
Info: May 20th, Piechowice – Piechowice, 120,7km
Course: hilly (7 categorized climbs)
“Riders in orange” approached the final, queen stage with ambitious mindset and hopes to take the overall. Even though time trial winner, Mateusz Taciak, was over 2 minutes behind in GC, the last day was hard and hilly enough to make up those loses and get back in the game.
CCC Sprandi Polkowice set hard pace right from the start, on the first lap, with a climb to Sosnówka. On the second the bunch was reduced to just 30 men and on the next one it was down to just 5 riders in the leading group, with Mateusz Taciak, Paweł Cieślik, Leszek Pluciński and also Adam Stachowiak and GC leader, Philipp Walsleben.
The following circuits, which included more steady, but longer ascent to Michałkowice, saw Cieślik and Stachowiak break clear, but they were caught by chasers led by Victor Manakov, who replaced Pluciński in the front. Nobody was able to respond to Taciak’s move though on the last lap, as TT winner soloed to victory. Walsleben came in 51s behind, retaining the lead and securing overall triumph. Taciak’s and Cieślik’s performance helped them move up to 2nd and 3rd respectively and get the victory in teams classification. The latter finished 4th in Piechowice and also won mountains classification. His result is even more impressive if you take into consideration his heart surgery, which he over went in January.
We are disappointed, since we aimed to win the overall, but at the same time I’m happy to take the stage. We proved today that the first stages, in which we lost some time in GC, were just an unfortunate accident and we showed that we are the strongest squad in the peloton – Mateusz Taciak said after his victory. – The plan was to set the tone early, shatter the field and try to drop our biggest opponents. We managed to leave almost everyone behind, but the leader. He was very strong today and he is a worthy winner.