The Stage 2 of Czech Cycling Tour didn’t unfold the way the “orange squad” had hoped. Strong crosswinds on the circuits caused the bunch to split and CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders didn’t manage to make the first group, which eventually arrived at the finish.
The 178-kilometer stage from Olomouc to Unicov was expected to be a sprinters’ battle. There were four cat. 3 climbs on the route, but all of them were located far from the finish and the fastest riders were hoping for the bunch sprint. It turned out that the race had a different scenario.
First it was a 4-man group, which broke clear. It included Alexis Guerin (AWT – GreenWay), Joey Van Rhee (Jo Piels), Christian Nyvang Lund (ColoQuick) and Josef Hošek (Whirlpool-Author). Sebastian Stamegna (GM Cycling Team) was trying to join them, but he had to let them go and return to the field.
The breakaway gained over 6-minute advantage, but after it reached that level the escape started to break apart. First Lund got dropped and then Van Rhee lost contact. Only Guerin and Hošek stayed in the front, but eventually they got reeled in by the peloton as well, with around 30 kilometers to go.
At that point the bunch had to deal with strong crosswinds. Because of that the pack split and a new, 18-man leading group emerged at the head of the race. Jan Barta, Petr Vakoc, Fernando Gaviria, Zdenek Stybar, Daniel Schorn, Erik Baska, Aloise Kankovski, and Polish riders, Paweł Cieślik, Paweł Franczak, Przemysław Kasperkiewicz were among those involved in that move. Unfortunatly “riders in orange” didn’t make the cut. They were running the chase but the collaboration in the lead was working very well and the gap would increase.
On the last, out of three laps, 10 riders pulled away. Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quick Step) was the fastest in the sprint from that group and took the win, ahead of Paweł Franczak (ActiveJet) and Daniel Schorn (Bora-Argon 18). Team’s top finisher, Stefan Schumacher crossed the line in 33rd place, 3:30 back.
Gaviria took over the overall lead.