It was a sweet and sour performance by CCC Sprandi Polkowice in the opening stage of Tour des Fjords. Frantisek Sisr made his presence known by getting into the breakaway of the day, but Alan Banaszek took part in a high speed crash just before the line.
Info: May 22nd, Lindesnes – Grimstad, 191km
Course: undulating (final 400m at 5,5%)
Frantisek Sisr was one of the early attackers, as he went away first with two other riders, and then they were joined by another duo. He was part of a 5-man breakaway, with Carlos Verona, Henrik Evensen, Floris Gerts and Daniel Pearson.
Peloton didn’t underestimate the strength of the attackers and kept the gap under 3-minute mark. They began reducing the differential after entering final 20km of racing and eventually Sisr and the rest of escape got caught with 5km to go. Before he was brought back in he won one intermediate sprint and was 2nd at another though, collecting 5 bonus seconds and 5 points to points classification.
It came down to a punchy sprint, as the last 400m were rising at 5,5%. Alan Banaszek kicked it off well positioned, from 10th place, but another rider bumped into him at high speed causing a crash. Few sprinters, including Banaszek, went down, but the youngster managed to finish the stage. He arrived across the line with cuts and bruises though and needed some ambulance assistance.
Fabio Jakobsen (Quick step Floors) got the win and Jonas Koch ended up as CCC Sprandi Polkowice’s top finisher, coming in 24th. Dane is the first leader of the race, while Sisr, sits in very solid, 3rd place, 5 seconds behind.
Update: Due to a crash that occurred on stage 1 and two fractures in his hand, Alan Banaszek will not start in stage 2