Tour of Croatia: Owsian takes 2nd on the mountain stage

Łukasz Owsian put in a lot of effort into his ride on mountainous stage 5 of Tour of Croatia and despite being the strongest riders in the breakaway he came short to take the win.  

Info: Stage 5, April 21st, Rabac – Poklon, 156,5km

Course: mountainous, mountain top finish (15km, 6,6%)

Ucka climb was tackled twice on that day, from two different sides. First time halfway through the stage and the second, to the finish. In both cases the ascent was around 15km long.

After the start “riders in orange” were riding very aggressively, trying to go clear. First it was Jan Tratnik, who pulled away solo, but he got caught. Next move was much bigger, with 17 riders going away. Among them there were two CCC Sprandi Polkowice representatives – Łukasz Owsian who was in the break also the day before, and a sprinter, Marko Kump.

In the tough, mountainous terrain the escape split and the bunch was torn into shreds. Owsian continued to ride in the front and often he was the one setting the pace. On the final climb it was down to him and three other riders, to battle for a stage win. Owsian was doing most of the work, closing the gaps on attacking riders. With 500m to go Manuele Bonaro (Bahrain-Merida) launched a move, which Polish rider couldn’t answer to. Italian got the win and Owsian finished 2nd.

It was good to have Marko Kump in the breakaway since he was making sure that the group is working well together. If somebody stopped pulling or didn’t take their turn he would reorganize the work. He did everything he could and as long as he could. When he was distanced from the group on HC climb, I decided to make some selection and escape was whittled down to just few riders at the top – Owsian explained.

At first I wanted to try to go for the KOM jersey, but when I realized that Aqua Blue Sport rider is very eager to take the lead in that classification and has had some points prior to the stage, I decided to focus on a stage win.

On the final climb I wanted to keep my own, solid pace for as long as possible. The way we were riding played in my favor, since the tempo was steady and we were able to bring back everyone who tried to go away. When I was peeking over my shoulder I saw that my rivals are very tired, so I continued to push hard. It was not only to wear my rivals down, but also to hold off the chasing GC favorites, who were closing in on us. With 500m to go Boaro attacked and I couldn’t follow. I don’t mind him not pulling in the breakaway, since he had his leader in the peloton, but he could have at least not fight for the stage win.