Tour of Małopolska: Cieślik meters away from victory

Paweł Cieślik kicked off Tour of Małopolska in style, finishing stage 1 with punchy, uphill finish in 2nd place.

Info: June 10th, stage 1, Trzebinia – Alwernia, 133km

Course: undulating, punchy, uphill finish

After very lively and intense opening, which saw handful of attacks, launched in hilly terrain also by top favorites (including Łukasz Owsian, Paweł Cieślik and Leszek Pluciński), finally a 3-man breakaway went clear. It consisted of foreign riders and they opened a 3-minute lead.

Escapees pulled away after 40km of racing and were brought back in with 9km to go. It was all together until the punchy finish, with a very steep incline of 12%.

Paweł Cieślik was very close to taking his first victory after returning from heart surgery early in the year. He was bested only by Maciej Paterski. Kamil Zieliński rounded out the podium, while Antunes, Owsian and Patryk Stosz also finished in top 10, in 7th, 8th and 9th respectively.

We covered the finishing climb twice today, so when we did it the first time we had the opportunity to get familiar with it, see all the turns, bumps and also the last 300, more flat, meters. The climb was quite hard, but the drive-in to it was as exhausting. It was very hectic, as everyone was fighting for position to tackle the hill in the front. At the foot of the climb Łukasz Owsian started pulling the group uphill, stretching it out and later Amaro Antunes decided to attack. He didn’t hold on, so it was up to me to finish it off – Paweł Cieślik explained.