Team Sky's Danny van Poppel is still searching for his first win since February after two close calls at the Tour de Pologne. Despite missing out on victory to first Peter Sagan on stage 1, then Sacha Modolo on stage 2, the Dutchman has the consolation of the first WorldTour leader's jersey of his career.
Van Poppel won the prologue of the Herald Sun Tour in February and wore the leader's jersey there, but his European campaign has been largely underwhelming besides the Hammer Series where he helped Sky take the title.
The Vuelta a Espana stage winner has found his sprinting consistency in Poland with his third and second stage results parachuting him into the race lead ahead of Sagan on cumulative results thus far in the race. Speaking after the narrow loss in Katowice, van Poppel explained that despite the good work of his teammates he couldn't finish the job.
“It was a hot day, and we knew the finish would be very fast so we focused on the final lead out. The team did a great job, and it was really close. I'm a little bit disappointed (to not win the stage) but, yes, I have the leader's jersey and it will be nice to race tomorrow in it, in such a big race," he said.
With local knowledge from Michal Golas and Lukasz Wisniowski, the 24-year-old added that he knew what to expect for the fast 900-metre downhill finish and had his gearing adjusted accordingly.
"I have two Polish teammates Golas and Wisniowski that have told me about it. They told me about the finish of today, that it was very fast, so I put a 56 on, it was almost a victory, after not a great start to my season. It's a good way to start the second part of my year," he added.
Second place also saw van Poppel move into the lead of the sprint competition although he will wear the yellow jersey for stage 3 of the race. With Monday's stage expected to be a day for the GC men due to the hilly parcours, van Poppel is unlikely to hold onto the lead. Wout Poels will be the man for Sky on stage 3 and will aim to take the yellow jersey off the shoulders of his compatriot and teammate.