Maciej Paterski kicked off Race of Solidarity and the Olympians with 12th place in the opening stage. Paweł Franczak (Verva ActiveJet) took the win after a sprint from a 52-man bunch.
The race opener was 178 kilometers long and took the riders from Radom to Łódź. With the relatively flat profile, it was expected that the victory will be decided in a bunch sprint finish. Since there is no time trial on the program and only one of the stages is hilly, it was important for GC contenders to gain as many bonus seconds as possible.
They started to materialize that plan right from the start, making sure that none of the breakaway goes clear. All of the attempts were being neutralized to bring the entire bunch to the first intermediate sprint. It was won by last year’s winner, Johim Ariesen (Metec – TKH Continental Cyclingteam p/b Mantel), while Maciej Paterski took 2nd.
Paterski was 2nd also at first KOM, as he was bested only by Marcel Meisen (Team Kuota). Soon after category 3 climb, Wojciech Franczak (Hurom De Rosa) pulled away solo and gained over 6-minute gap. The peloton had things under control though and caught the lone attacker with around 30km to go.
The field split in the finale and the stage was decided in a sprint from 52-man group. Paweł Franczak (Verva ActiveJet) was the fastest man at the line, beating Enzo Wouters (Lotto Soudal U23) and Andriy Kulyk (Kolss-BDC Team). Paterski was the team’s top finisher, claiming 12th place.
They say bad luck comes in pairs. Simone Ponzi crashed on stage 1 and broke his collarbone, for the second time this year. Previously it happened at Tour of Croatia and since then he only raced in Tour de Suisse.