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Wyścig dookoła Mazowsza: Stępniak takes the overall lead

Thanks to aggressive performance on Stage 2 of Wyścig dookoła Mazowsza, Grzegorz Stępniak took over the overall lead. 

Before the stage we had agreed with sporting director, Tomasz Brożyna, that we should focus on the intermediate sprint and bonus seconds that can be gained there. Be believe that this is where the general classification will be decided. The plan was to be aggressive and we managed to execute it perfectly. I felt great today and despite sprinting for the bonus seconds I still had enough power and energy to go for the stage win. Unfortunately I made one mistake which cost me a top place. The final lap was very twisty and it was nearly impossible to pass other riders. Positioning was everything at today’s finish – Grzegorz Stępniak said afterwards.

The stage from Ciechanów to Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki kicked off with a fierce battle at intermediate sprints. They were located at 19km and 28km mark. Sprinter from Polkowice-based team won the first one and was second at another. Additionaly Tomasz Kiendyś and Eryk Latoń took third and “stole” one extra second from the rivals. The gap in general classification between Stępniak and the leader, Kerstena Thiele, dropped from 7 to only 2 seconds.

The day’s main breakaway consisted of 4 riders. All of them were representing foreign teams. They established over two minute lead, but were caught before the final circuits in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki. 13 kilometers from the line, last intermediate sprint was situated. Stępniak again was second, and Christian Delle Stelle was third. Due to 2 seconds gained, the Polish sprinter caught up with the leader, in terms of overall time. Since CCC Sprandi Polkowice cyclists did better in the prologue, he took over the virtual GC lead.

He turned that into real lead after the finish. He claimed 11th place, but since the top 3 on the stage didn’t include anybody from the the top 10 of GC, he put on the yellow jersey. Stefan Poutsma (Jo Piels) won the sprint ahead of Willi Willwohl (LKT Team Brandenburg) and Andriy Kulyk (Kolss-BDC). The group got shredded on the winding laps and 41 riders arrived in the main bunch.

Stępniak has the same time in general classification as Thiele and 4 seconds of advantage over Twan Brusselman (Jo Piels), who sits in third. He also is the leader of the most active classification, with 9 points.