Late crash played a big role in the finale of stage 1 of Bałtyk – Kakronosze Tour and prevented Alan Banaszek from battling for the win.
Info: Stage 1, May 17th, Kołobrzeg – Sławno, 142km
The “orange squad” approached stage 1 with first leader of the race, Alan Banaszek, who put on the yellow jersey after winning Tuesday’s criterium. Since CCC Sprandi Polkowice was racing in this stage event only with 5 riders, they had to ride as economically as possible and let the 3-man breakaway go clear early on. It included Marek Rutkiewicz (Wibatech 7r Fuji), Sergey Luchshenko (Astana) and Alex Muller (Isaac), who gained 3 minutes on the bunch.
After the only intermediate sprint of the day, won by Muller, the escape slowed down, making it easier for the bunch to catch them. When escapees where within peloton’s sight, the main group eased up the pace, letting the break go away again. This time only Rutkiewicz and Muller took advantage of the situation though.
With 33km remaining the duo was joined by Nurbolat Kulimbetov (Astana) and Vasyl Malynivskyi (Kolss), but the chasing pack was just 30 seconds behind. It was all neutralized with 20km to go and despite many late attempts the stage was decided in a mass gallop.
Final kilometer was quite hectic, with the crash 800m from the line. It slowed down Alan Banaszek and excluded him from the battle of sprinters. Johim Ariesen (Metec-TKH) was more lucky and sprinted to victory and overall lead. He defeated Kamil Zieliński (Domin) and Andriy Kulik (Kolss). Leszek Pluciński was team’s top finisher, coming in in 11th place.