Third time lucky, or so goes the saying. Runner-up at the Tour de Pologne two year’s in a row, Ion Izagirre (Movistar) was finally able to enjoy the view of Krakow from the top step of the podium following the stage 7 final time trial on Saturday.
The Spaniard started the day sixth on general classification but overhauled race leader Sergio Henao and the others above him by virtue of a superior time trial performance on the rolling 25km circuit.
“This is special for me to win here in Poland,” Izagirre told reporters after pulling on his yellow jersey and being showered by yellow confetti.
“To win a race is always a great feeling. I made second place two times in the last two years and I came here this year again hoping to win it. Finally I’ve won so it’s important to be on the top of the podium. I’m very, very happy.”
If Izagirre had an edge over his direct rivals it’s that the final stage was a carbon copy of the one that concluded last year’s race. The rolling parcours suited the 26-year-old but he didn’t have the best of day’s on the bike, despite the joyous ending.
“I know the time trial because last year it was the same, but today the weather conditions were more aggressive, and the body maybe didn’t feel the same,” he said, referring to the stifling heat and humidity in the old Polish capital, with temperatures well into the 30s Celsius.
“Last year I felt better than this year but last year I finished second and this year I win the race, so I definitely prefer it.”
The win mark’s a significant breakthrough in Izagirre’s career; it’s not just the first time he’s cracked Poland but the first time he has won a stage race. He was fourth at the Tour Down Under in 2013 and third at the Vuelta al País Vasco earlier this year on top of the two second places in Poland.
Earlier in the week, Izagirre had told Cyclingnews about his ambitions going forward with a contract still to be negotiated for next year, and he is set to take a great deal of confidence from this win, not to mention improved bargaining power.
“This year in País Vasco I made third position and here in Pologne I’ve won, so I can see myself improving. I like one-week tours – they’re the best for me, especially if they have a time trial. I can stay near the front on the climbs then in the time trial I can improve my general position, so the one-week tours are good for me. I can do jobs and good work in one-week tours.
“I’m happy in this team but maybe we’re going to consider other possibilities. This position helps me to make a good contract.”