Tour of Poland: Oss Tests His Legs Before a Chaotic Bunch Sprint on Stage 129. July 2017, Kraków (POL) — Road Team
The opening day of racing at the Tour of Poland was predicted to come down to a fast finish and after a late attack from Daniel Oss as they raced through the center of Kraków, it was Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) who took the day’s honors in a hectic and crash-marred bunch sprint.
The attacks began as soon as the flag dropped on stage 1 with four riders being given the nod from the peloton to go clear after just 5km, of the 130km course.
By the time the breakaway reached the 30km mark, the gap had risen to 3’20”, but with a bunch sprint expected, they were unable to extend their advantage any further.
Despite a hilly start to the day, the race hit the first of two categorized climbs, the Bachowice, with 63km to go, while, at the same time, the peloton, led by the sprinters’ teams, had pulled the leaders to within two minutes.
Inside 40km to go, the race was firmly in control as the breakaway was being held at around one minute before it eventually split with Maciej Paterski (CCC-Sprandi) and Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) forging ahead at the front of the race.
The duo was able to extend their advantage to over 1’10” heading into the final 20km of the day, but a motivated chase from the peloton behind saw them pulled back before the first of three finishing circuits.
As the bell rang to mark the start of the final 4km around Kraków, the battle for position was in full swing with teams setting a fierce pace at the front of the bunch before Daniel Oss seized the opportunity to attack, opening up a small gap alongside Tomasz Marcynski (Lotto Soudal).
However, the sprinters were not to be denied their opportunity to take the win and the duo were quickly pulled back to set the stage for a fast and furious finale.
With no clear lead-out trains formed a chaotic bunch sprint soon unfolded with Sagan going on to take the win and the first leader’s jersey of the race while, behind him, a late crash caught out some riders in the closing 500m of the day.
Fortunately, all of BMC Racing Team’s riders stayed upright to finish safely.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was a relatively easy stage today, and the final circuit was completely under control with the sprinters' teams at the front. But, on the last lap, they slowed down a bit, so I took the opportunity to attack. The final was fast, and I went all in, but in the end, they caught me. I am feeling good here, so I will definitely try again and see what happens.”
Sports Director, Max Sciandri:
“It wasn’t a bad circuit with two long straights, and in the end, it was a really fast sprint and unfortunately crashes sometimes happen when people are taking risks in those situations. Luckily for us, everyone crossed the line safely, and that was the main goal today. Ben Hermans and Dylan Teuns, our riders for the General Classification, had no time gaps on the line which was good. It was the first stage, and it’s been a while since a lot of our guys have raced, so it was a good way to get the racing feeling back.”
“Daniel Oss tested himself in the final. He wanted to find an opportunity, and when the peloton slowed down for a moment, he tried a little flyer off the front. It is all good for the morale. He isn’t a sprinter, so it was a good chance for him to try something.”
Tour of Poland
Stage 1: Kraków > Kraków, 130km
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) 2. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott) 3. Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 18. Floris Gerts 23. Ben Hermans 37. Tejay van Garderen