Poland opener plagued by rain

Lampre blasting by.

Lampre blasting by. (Image credit: AFP)

The Tour of Poland opened Sunday with an unusual three kilometre team time trial - three one kilometre circuits around Warsaw's Theatre Square, but the format proved not to be waterproof, and organisers had to neutralise the overall standings after heavy rains swept in for the later teams.

The Italian Lampre team took advantage of a break in heavy rains to deliver a winning time of 3'36, but the race's good luck didn't last long. The skies opened up on the later teams, drenching the streets with heavy rains and spelling disaster for the Gerolsteiner squad, who crashed in the final turn of its last circuit.

"We had the best time at the second lap and we most certainly would have made the podium. After the fall, however, we had no more chance, which was naturally unfortunate", said the Gerolsteiner director Christian Wegmann.

Other teams decided not to take any chances with the course in those conditions. "It was kind of wet at the beginning, but then halfway through it dried up so I started to think we might win, because we were one of the last teams to start," explained Team CSC's sports director Alain Gallopin "But towards the end it started to pour so we had to be very careful and not take any unnecessary chances. I think we finished last actually."

"It was all the sports directors and the organisers, who before the stage agreed that the route was a bit too dangerous in the rain for the results to count. So it ended up being just a show for the sake of the spectators and also to determine who was going to wear the leader's jersey in the second stage," Gallopin continued.

Lampre's veteran Fabio Baldato will wear the leader's jersey on the first road stage on Monday.

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