Tour de Pologne: Ackermann struggles in uphill sprint but keeps yellow

Pascal Ackermann didn't find the uphill sprint at the end of stage 5 at the Tour de Pologne to his liking, but the double-stage winner was able to finish in the main bunch and keep his race lead. Racing resumed on Wednesday after the neutralisation of the race on stage 4 as the race honoured Bjorg Lambrecht.

Ackermann's Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Rafal Majka, meanwhile, picked up the team flag and placed sixth in the stage finale, moving up to 15th overall in a large group that sits 24 seconds behind the leader and positioning himself well for the general classification battle in the upcoming mountains.

"I have recovered well after the Giro, and my legs get better day by day," Majka said of his home tour. "Today, our main goal was to go for Pascal, to defend the yellow jersey, but also keep an eye on the GC contenders."

The team worked well all day for Ackermann, helping to pull back the day's breakaway with 30km still remaining and then reeling in another three-rider move on the last of the finishing circuits in Bielsko-Biala. When Ackermann struggled in the finale, however, Majka was there to play his own cards. 

"Once again Maciej [Bodnar] did an amazing job," said Bora-Hansgrohe team director Steffen Radochla. "Also, Davide [Formolo] and Rafal were at the front as we headed into the finale. They all worked together, therefore huge compliment to the guys. The sixth place of Rafal is a solid result. Pascal missed that final punch a little bit at the end, but he was able to defend the jersey."

Majka said he was boxed in during the sprint.

"But still I managed to finished in sixth place, and there is nothing to complain about," he said. "Tomorrow, the mountains are coming up, and I am looking forward to it because it is fun to ride on home soil."

Majka won the overall at he Tour de Pologne in 2014 and is using this year's race to prepare for the Vuelta a Espana, where he finished third overall in 2015 and won a stage on 2017.

The 2019 Tour de Pologne continues Thursday with stage 6, a mountainous 160km stage from Zakopane to Kościelisko.

 

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