On the one hand they had two riders in Davide Formolo and Moreno Moser who were heavily involved at the sharp end of the race, maintaining their presence in the lead group as it became increasingly select over the final climbs. Formolo, who himself attacked from that group and was alone with Fabio Aru for a short while, moved up to third on GC for his efforts.
However, hopes of a stage win went out of the window as Moser cramped up with a couple of kilometres to go, and he now has little chance of regaining the overall title he won in 2012.
“We are definitely happy, but also a little bit disappointed because we could have done better” sports director Fabrizio Guidi told Cyclingnews at the team bus in Zakopane after the stage.
"It was disappointing not to get the stage win, because I was confident for the final –with both of them but I guess mostly for Moreno. Against those other guys in a fast final, he could have won. But with the job those two did, that the team did, we are very happy. Tomorrow is another day – I’m sure we’ll have two guys up there fighting tomorrow. ”
Moser, whose first win of the season came at the Tour of Austria last month, played down his chances of another overall victory in Poland, stressing that a stage win was probably his best bet. He won’t get a better chance than today on what was a slightly uphill drag to the line as opposed to an out-and-out finishing climb like Friday’s stage 6.
But after working so well for so many of the 223 kilometres, the 24-year-old came undone right towards the end and came home 1:21 down on stage winner Bart De Clercq, whom he now trails on GC by 1:31.
“For the final I felt I was really the fastest of the first guys but with two kilometres to go I had cramps in the legs and I just stopped pedaling and lost the race,” said the Italian. "It was ok on the climbs and for sure tomorrow we will try again. Today I lost so many seconds so for sure Formolo will be the leader for the GC.”
Formolo, who announced himself with a first professional win at the Giro d’Itlaia in May, is in a much healthier position, just six seconds behind De Clercq and two seconds behind second-placed Diego Ulissi. He will be confident of putting those two to the sword across the eight categorised climbs on Friday but the danger will come from behind, not least from Fabio Aru, who matched Formolo’s attacks and was part of an assertive Astana team. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old will not be afraid to race on the front foot once again.
“It was the first day with some climbs and my legs were very good,” Formolo told Cyclingnews. ”Tomorrow is more difficult and we will see what we can do. We will see because today was not so difficult but tomorrow is the worst. It’s shorter and the climbs are steeper. For sure if I have my chance I’m going to take it.”