Tour de Pologne: Kurek strengthened his lead in KOM classification

On the second day of Tour de Pologne, Adrian Kurek strengthened his lead in the king of the mountains classification. The stage ended with a massive crash, chaotic sprint and Matteo Pelucchi’s victory. 

Another day in a very hot weather, which definitely made an impact on our legs. I managed to get into the break and protect the jersey, so I can be satisfied with how things unfolded. On KOM’s I was in the control and I was able to win both of them. At first intermediate sprint I attacked few hundred meters before. A gap was created behind me, when we tackled the last corner and I wanted to take advantage of that. Kamil Gradek closed the gap though and outsprinted me on the line. In the next sprint, my handlebar got tangled up with other escapee’s bike, I had to slow down drastically and there was no chance for top 3 – Adrian Kurek said afterwards.

Now I have 9 points in the mountains classification and 4 in the most active classification. There are three intermediate sprints and two mountain primes on the course, so a lot of points to gain. It would be good if I’m in the escape also tomorrow, but I will see in the morning how I recovered after two days in the breakaway. My mind would like to attack every day, but my legs may not allow me to. 

The stage from Częstochowa to Dąbrowa Górnicza had similar scenario to yesterday’s. One of the first breakaway attempts went clear and it included king of the mountains classification leader, Adrian Kurek. He attacked alongside Kamil Gradek (Poland), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Martijn Keizer (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal). The peloton was making sure that the gap never gets bigger than 2:30.

Two intermediate sprints and two cat. 3 KOM’s has been planned out for that day. At the first sprint, Kurek finished 2nd and for a short time he took over the lead in the most active rider classification. At the second, he didn’t collect any points, since he was 4th. On both mountain primes, he executed the plan perfectly and strengthened his position as the king of the mountains classificiation leader.

Before escapees entered the final laps in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Burghardt came back to the bunch and only 4 men left in the front. The bunch was very close though, as with 50 kilometers to go the gap was less then one minute. It was maintained for a long time but eventually the escape got reeled in 20 kilometers from the finish.

The pace on the last two circuits was set by Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo. They made things very hard for those who had a late attack in their minds. The peloton crossed the flamme rouge all together but in the finale a massive crash occurred at the head of the group. Many riders went down and Grega Bole, Marek Rutkiewicz and Nikolay Mihaylov were among them. They all got up though, completed the stage on their own and should start tomorrow.

Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) was the one who was not only the luckiest, but also the strongest in the final meters and took the win. He bested stage 1 winner, Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek). Since crash stopped most of the cyclists, including the entire CCC Sprandi Polkowice team, nobody from the squad was fighting for the top result.

Kittel defended his overall lead. Maciej Paterski is the highest ranked rider from the Polkowice-based team. He sits in 18th place, 16 seconds behind.