Tour de Pologne: Cieślik with top 15 in Bukowina Tatrzańska and in GC  

Paweł Cieślik showcased outstanding performance on final, unlucky for CCC Sprandi Polkowice stage of Tour de Pologne, finishing in top 15 – both at the line and in GC.

Info: August 10h, Bukovina Resort – Bukowina Tatrzańska, 136km

Course: mountainous

CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were very motivated to defend the KOM jersey, worn by Łukasz Owsian and showcase themselves on the toughest stage of this year’s edition of Tour de Pologne. Unfortunately the luck was not on their side that day. First Owsian had a mechanical and was excluded from the battle for a spot in the breakaway. Then 18-man group went clear and it didn’t include “riders in orange”. They were chasing hard to bring them back, but they couldn’t overcome over 2-minute deficit.

Another unfortunate accident happened, when Michal Schlegel crashed and injured his collarbone. He was taken to the hospital and had to abandon the race.

Next factor that didn’t play into CCC Sprandi Polkowice favor was the fact, that Patrick Konrad, who’d had 27 KOM points before the stage, was in the break. He won four cat. 1 climbs, taking over the magenta jersey from Owsian and secure the final win.

Thankfully Paweł Cieślik had good legs in the last stage and was responding to moves made by top favorites. He approached the final climb in 15-man main group and stayed with them until the decisive attacks. He finished the stage in 13th place, 43s behind stage winner, Simon Yates, who pulled away solo on penultimate slope. Polish rider claimed 14th place overall, 1:32 back on GC winner, Michał Kwiatkowski.

I felt very well in the last two stages and today was the day, when my sensations were at the peak. I got also huge support from my teammates who were helping me on the toughest climbs. When we covered Gliczarów for the first time, I felt that I can ride at the pace of the strongest and that was a big confidence boost.

When race entered decisive phase I indeed was able to stay with the favorites uphill and I lost contact with them only with 2km to go, on the last ascent towards the finish, when key attacks were being launched. That climb didn’t really suit me, since it was quite punchy and one had to generate a lot of power, over 400 watts to fight for a victory.

I have mixed feelings about my result. I came to the race with a mindset to battle against World Tour riders. This event has showed that there is still a gap between them and me and I need to compete against them on a daily basis to get to that level.