First it was Adrian Kurek, then Grega Bole who took the lead in the king of the mountains classification, but eventually it was Maciej Paterski who claimed the pink jersey in the Tour de Pologne. He became “king of the mountains” thanks to an aggressive ride on the tough stage around Bukowina Tatrzańska.
It was very hard to get into the escape today – Maciej Paterski, who won the best climber classification also last year, said afterwards. – The peloton was not letting anyone go easily and it cost me a lot of energy to break clear. On the first two KOM’s I gave almost everything to hit the top in first place. At the beginning, other riders were fighting for the maximum amount of points too, but when I won twice, they stopped putting so much effort anymore.
Of course I’m happy to win the pink jersey, although I would trade it for a stage win. I was preparing for the Tour de Pologne with a stage victory, claimed on one of those harder stages, on my mind. Unfortunately not everything always goes the way you would like to.
The last stage before the Saturday’s time trial, was very lively and fast. Lots of action was going on on the demanding course. The race featured very steep climbs to Ząb and Gliczarów, which were tackled four times each. First leading group was formed on the small laps in Zakopane and it included Marek Rutkiewicz and Branislau Samoilau. It didn’t stick for too long though and was caught early on.
In the next move also two CCC Sprandi Polkowice were involved. This time it was Nikolay Mihaylov and Maciej Paterski. who made the large escape. Its composition was changing constantly, due to hilly terrain and many opportunities to attack. The maximum gap, which was recorded by an escapee, was 3:50.
When the riders tackled Gliczarów for the first time, this is when Paterski’s journey for the pink jersey began. He won first three cat. 1 climbs and was 2nd on the next two ones. He took over the lead in the classification and the only riders who were a threat for him in terms of winning the jersey, were Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Diego Rosa (Astana). The former pulled away and grabbed 20 points, and the latter had some points in his account before the stage and attacked late. The final KOM, named after Joachim Halupczok, was supposed to be decisive. None of those three riders got points there, so CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider was certain to win the best climber classification.
A big leading group, with the favorites hit the bottom of the last ascent. Davide Rebellin was part of that field. Jan Hirt and Branislau Samoilau also managed to stay with the strongest for a long time, but eventually they fell behind on a penultimate hill to Ząb. When the best teams picked up the pace and some top riders launched their missiles , experienced Italian lost contact with the pack. The rider who put the hammer down the strongest was Sergio Henao (Sky). He attacked solo and could celebrate a victory in Bukowina Tatrzańska. He also became new GC leader. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) finished 2nd and Lawson Craddock (Giant – Alpecin) was 3rd. Davide Rebellin came in in 13th place, 38 sekonds back, but moved up one spot in the general classification.
Before the individual time trial in Krakow, he is 11th, 49 seconds behind.
It was another very hard, mountain stage – Davide Rebellin explained. – I felt really well right from the start, but with 2 kilometers to the top of the last climb, I had problems with keeping up with the strongest. I gave everything I had, but I lost some seconds to the front. I hope to recover well throughout the night and do a solid time trial tomorrow. Now my goal is the top “10” of GC and I will try to go as fast as I can in the race against the clock, to accomplish that goal.