Karolina Karasiewicz (TKK Pacific Nestle Fitness) claimed her first Elite women's road title at Polish National Road Championships.
The 24-year-old was a part of an early breakaway, in the tense final outsprinting Monika Brzezna (MAT Atom Deweloper) and Anna Plichta (WM3 Pro Cycling) and taking a surprise win in Gdynia.
Track rider Daria Pikulik sprinted to fourth place, securing gold in U23 ranks, ahead of Alicja Ratajczak and Nikol Plosaj.
"It was my plan to get in the early breakaway. I was already fourth in elite road race twice, I finally made it. Forming the break was a bit of a mess. We got the gap but I didn't think we can make it. Only when they told us we have three minutes, we started believing," Karasiewicz said after the podium ceremony.
The undulating route led through roads of Pomeranian coast near port city Gdynia and offered only a few inclines for more punchy riders over 126 kilometres. With just 12 riders lining up in elite women race and defending champion Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) not present on a start line, the race was bound to be decided by bold moves of riders not afraid of taking the initiative.
Karasiewicz, who already has national track titles in scratch and points race to her name, finished 4th in elite road race back in 2012 and 2014, shadowing more recognized riders. This year, 24-year-old joined forces with last years’ runner-up Anna Plichta (WM3 Pro Cycling) and Monika Brzezna (MAT Atom Deweloper). The trio formed the decisive breakaway after just 10 kilometres of racing and while Plichta and Karasiewicz worked well together, Brzezna decided not to take turns.
The attackers benefited from lack of cooperation among small field and managed to build up an advantage of 3:30, later holding on to it throughout the race. The chasing group was meanwhile in disarray, allowing the gap to grow up to five minutes after 100 kilometres.
Plichta took every opportunity to accelerate and drop her opponents but her attempts proved unsuccessful and the gold medal battle came down to the final sprint.
Karasiewicz used track background to her advantage on the cobbled final, opening the sprint and powering to gold ahead of Brzezna and exhausted Plichta.
"I was really afraid of Anna, she was really strong and she kept attacking. I was watching her all the time. The final was on cobbles, narrow and twisty roads, something I really like. I knew I had the chance. I went for a long sprint, 350 metres. This title means a whole lot to me. I had an injury earlier this year, I broke my collarbone and the fight to get back in shape was a hard one," she said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Karolina Karasiewicz (Pol)||3:20:35|
|2||Monika Brzezna (Pol)|
|3||Anna Plichta (Pol) WM3 Pro Cycling|
|4||Daria Pikulik (Pol)||0:02:49|
|5||Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam|
|6||Alicja Ratajczak (Pol)|
|7||Nikol Plosaj (Pol)|
|8||Marta Lach (Pol)|
|9||Wiktoria Pikulik (Pol)||0:02:51|
|10||Agnieszka Skalniak (Pol) Astana Women's Team||0:02:52|
|11||Aurela Nerlo (Pol)|
|12||Nikola Rózynska (Pol)|
|13||Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Cylance Pro Cycling||0:02:53|
|14||Karolina Perekitko (Pol)|
|15||Monika Graczewska (Pol)||0:02:55|
|16||Anna Harkowska (Pol)||0:03:00|
|17||Katarzyna Brewinska (Pol)|
|18||Katarzyna Wilkos (Pol)||0:03:01|
|19||Weronika Humelt (Pol)|
|20||Klaudia Radziszewska (Pol)||0:03:02|
|21||Ewelina Szybiak (Pol)||0:03:05|
|22||Agnieszka Bacinska (Pol)||0:03:59|
|23||Patrycja Lorkowska (Pol)||0:12:06|
|24||Edyta Jasinska (Pol)||0:13:21|
|25||Dorota Przezak (Pol)||0:13:22|
|26||Wiktoria Ciesielczuk (Pol)||0:13:23|
|27||Natalia Rutkowska (Pol)|
|28||Lucja Pietrzak (Pol)||0:13:26|
|29||Justyna Kaczkowska (Pol)||0:13:28|
|30||Karolina Pizon (Pol)||0:13:31|
|31||Wiktoria Zeglen (Pol)||0:13:34|
|DNF||Klaudia Krolikowska (Pol)|
|DNF||Klaudia Janik (Pol)|
|DNF||Aleksandra Kubica (Pol)|
|DNF||Karolina Lipiejko (Pol)|
|DNF||Paulina Zabiszak (Pol)|
|DNF||Magdalena Rzaca (Pol)|
|DNF||Ewa Fajkowska (Pol)|
|DNF||Magdalena Zielinska (Pol)|
|DNF||Natalia Zuzanna Nowotarska (Pol)|