On the rainy, cold and filled with attacks stage 1 of Szlakiem Grodów Piastowskich, Mateusz Taciak finished 3rd after a sprint from a large group.
The climb was not long and hard enough for attacking riders, to break clear and go all the way to the finish. When it was few kilometers to go and we knew that the stage will end with a bunch sprint I told Tomasz Kiendyś, that I’m right behind him and I’m ready to sprint. He did a great job with pulling me to the front of the group and position me for the finish – Mateusz Taciak said afterwards.
I haven’t sprinted for a podium spot in a long time. As far as I remember the last time I did this was 6 or 7 years ago, at Memorial Andrzeja Trochanowskiego. When I was younger and I was riding in France I was capable of winning from a 15-man group, so those sprinting skills has always been there.
First stage of Szlakiem Grodów Piastowskich was a “race of 1000 attacks”. From the very beginning many riders tried to break away, taking advantage of the cat. 2 climb, which was tackled 8 times. For Josef Cerny, the 4-day event didn’t kick off easily. First he broke a wheel and when he was chasing the bunch, he crashed on a slippery road. Despite bad luck he was still able to fight his way back to the main group. Later on, he was still one of the most aggressive riders.
Breakaway attempts often shredded the peloton but nobody was able to create a bigger gap. Practically in every move there was somebody from the “orange squad” and everyone from the team was at least once in the front of the race.
On the last out of eight laps around Świdnica, a 10-man group managed to pull away. Adrian Honkisz and Stefan Schumacher were both in it, but they were reeled in within only few hundred meters from the line.
CCC Sprandi Polkowice was ready also for a bunch sprint scenario as well. It set up Mateusz Taciak for the final push and he was able to finish off the teamwork with a 3rd place. The stage was won by Andriy Kulyk (Kolss-BDC), who bested Paweł Franczak (ActiveJet).