Tour of Antalya: Franczak with first podium of the season

Paweł Franczak notched first podium spot for CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2018 season, by finishing 3rd in the last stage of Tour of Antalya.

Info: Stage 4, February 25th, Side-Lara, 146,2km

Course: flat/undulating

Final stage of the Turkish race got off to extremely fast start, with multiple unsuccessful breakaway attempts. Finally after nearly 80km of racing a 6-man group went clear. It didn’t include CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders, but the escape was never a threat for the bunch.

Advantage of 1:15 was all the escapees got and eventually they were reeled back in with 10km to go. With flat finale it was certain, that it will come down to a bunch sprint finish and “riders in orange” made sure that their fastest sprinter, Paweł Franczak was well positioned for the decisive battle.

They did a good job of leading him out and the 27-year old finished off teammates’ work with 3rd place. He was bested only by stage winner Matteo Moschetti (Polartec-Kometa) and Andre Looij (Monkey Town) who took 2nd.

The finale was as usual, quite dangerous and chaotic. With 2km to go I hit a pothole, my handlebar dropped and I lost a little bit of air from my front tire. Fortunately it was still good enough to keep on fighting. – Paweł Franczak explains. – I was already in 2nd position with 700m to go, after Adrian Kurek helped me move up in the group. As it later turned out, it may have been to soon, The finishing straight was going gently downhill and the riders who were sitting further back were gaining more speed and it was hard for me to do anything more.

Our guys were very active today and protected me from the wind. We continue to gel, but we are still chasing that first victory of the season. It often comes down to just few centimeters or split of a second to make the right decision. All in all I can be satisfied with my form and team’s performance. 

Paweł Bernas, who was the highest ranked CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider in GC, arrived safely in the main bunch and held on to 11th place in general standings. Artem Ovechkin (Marathon-Tula) sealed the overall win.