Owsian with KOM classification lead at Tour of Britain

Łukasz Owsian pulled on a KOM jersey after stage 1 of OVO Energy Tour of Britain, while other “riders in orange” also put on an aggressive performance, as Jonas Koch and Maciej Paterski finished the stage in the first, shattered group.

Info: Stage 1, 3rd of September, Edinburgh – Kelso, 190,1km

Course: undulating

How it unfolded

It took 20 kilometers and multiple attempts to form the breakaway of the day. Łukasz Owsian was one of the lucky attackers who broke clear, as he joined Karol Domagalski (One Pro Cycling), Graham Briggs (JLT Condor), McNally (JLT Condor), Jacob Scott (An Post Chain Reaction), Connor Swift (Madison Genesis), Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar Team) and Rob Partridge (BIKE Channel Canyon). Peloton didn’t give them too much space, as the maximum gap was only 3 minutes.

With 50km to go Polish duo – Owsian and Domagalski decided to pull away from their companions and stayed up front until the last categorized climb. CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider was the last man caught by the bunch, as he was reeled back in with 24,5km remaining, just before the top. He was also the one, who collected the most points to mountains classification, securing black jersey after stage 1 – he was 4th at first KOM and won the second one.

The pace upped drastically on that hill, which caused peloton to shatter to around 60 men. Among them were Maciej Paterski and Jonas Koch. They were both riding very aggressively late in the stage initiating moves and responding to accelerations of others. After being pulled back in they still had enough power in the legs to position themselves at the head of the pack, with 3km to go.

It was a nail biting finish, as the battle of sprinters was very tight. Aleksander Kristoff (Katusha Alpecin), Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), Edvaldv Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky) were the strongest in a cobblestone finale, as they all crossed the line almost at the same time. Ewan was slightly the fastest taking the win in stage 1 ahead of Hagen and Viviani. Maciej Paterski was in the mix, claiming 16th place. He sits in 17th overall.

We had agreed before the stage, to go clear if there is a bigger group trying to break away. I was able to join the right move, but collaboration in that escape was not working well. Riders were skipping their turns, so I decided to attack when peloton got close. Only Karol Domagalski followed and we continued to push as hard as we could – first KOM classification leader, Łukasz Owsian explains.

I was caught by surprise on first categorized climb, but was able to win the next one. I tried to reach the top of the final hill in the lead to collect more points, but I was exhausted and got caught 1 kilometer from the summit. We will talk about the strategy and my tasks for upcoming stages later on, but I would like to try to keep that jersey. The race is long, so the future will tell us if we can pull that off.