The plan for the first stage of Tour de Pologne was the get into the break and take the leader jersey of one of the classifications. Adrian Kurek was able to materialize that strategy and became the first KOM leader.
There is always some stress before the first stage, but I knew that I’m well prepared. I had good sensations after the training sessions and Podlasie Tour. I didn’t race or train in such warm weather lately though so it was a little bit surprising for my body. Especially when I attacked before the mountain prime. I also had there some problems with my chain, which dropped from big to small chain ring. I quickly reacted, managed to fix it and since the advantage over other escapees was big enough, I was able to win the KOM and took the lead. It was difficult to overtake Mohoric at the intermediate sprint, because my legs were still “burning” after previous attack – Adrian Kurek said afterwards.
The big mountains are still ahead of us and there is a long way to win the final KOM or most aggressive rider classification. We can be satisfied with today’s performance, since we’ve executed the plan.
Adrian Kurek’s group broke away right after the start in Warsaw. He was joined by Paweł Bernas (Polish National Team) and Matej Mohoric (Cannondale-Garmin). They gained over 3-minute advantage, but the sprinters’ teams reduced the gap to only one minute and maintained it for the next tens of kilometers.
The escapees managed to hold off the bunch long enough to fight for the points at KOM and intermediate sprint. Kurek attacked solo around 1 kilometer from the top of the small, category 3 hill, collected the maximum amount of points and took the KOM leader jersey.
Mohoric accelerated before the intermediate sprint. Kurek fallowed him and Bernas go dropped. Cannondale-Garmin rider won the two-man sprint, ahead of CCC Sprandi Polkowice cyclist.
Kurek and Mohoric were both caught with 18 kilometers to go. Afterwards couple of runners tried to pull away but it came down to a sprinters battle. Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) took the last corner in the best position and grabbed the win. He outsprinted Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre – Merida). Maciej Paterski was the team’s top finisher, as he was 23rd.