Tour de Pologne: Gradek in the break, Paluta stays in pink

Kamil Gradek represented CCC Sprandi Polkowice in the breakaway on stage 2 of Tour de Pologne and thanks to his performance, his teammate, Michał Paluta was able to retain the KOM jersey.

Info: August 5th, Tarnowskie Góry – Katowice, 156km

Course: flat

After Saturday’s attempt by Michał Paluta, this time it was Kamil Gradek who slipped into the day’s main breakaway. He was joined in his efforts by Jan Bakelants, Jenthe Biermans, Evgeny Shalunov and Adam Stachowiak. They established 3-minute lead, which was controlled by sprinter teams-led bunch.

With three intermediate sprints and two KOMs (both cat.3) on the menu, there were plenty of opportunities for escapees to fight for Best Climber and Most Active jersey. Kamil Gradek did his best, but it was Biermans who collected the most points at the sprints. Afterwards Bakelants decided to sit up and wait for the peloton and later on Biermans punctured, so it was down to three leaders.

CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider was more successful at first KOM of the day, which he won, helping Michał Paluta keep his lead in King of the Mountains classification (Stachowiak took the second one).

Gradek and his companions were reeled back in with 12km to go and despite few attacks late in the race the mass gallop decided the stage. Katowice are known for their gently downhill finish and high speeds recorded at the line and positioning for the 180-degree turn, with 1km to go was crucial.

Unfortunately main sprinter of the orange squad was eliminated from contesting the sprint due to mechanical that happened in the finale. Michał Paluta was the top finisher in his absence, taking 24th place and maintaining top 10 spot overall. He sits in 8th, 18 seconds behind the back-to-back stage winner and GC leader, Pascal Ackermann.