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Domestique's delight: Adrian Kurek wins Polish national road race title

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The Polish podium

The Polish podium
(Image credit: Agnieszka Małgorzata Torba/Młoda Photography)
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The early breakaway

The early breakaway
(Image credit: Agnieszka Małgorzata Torba/Młoda Photography)
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Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice)

Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice)
(Image credit: Agnieszka Małgorzata Torba/Młoda Photography)
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The final three-man break on the local laps

The final three-man break on the local laps
(Image credit: Agnieszka Małgorzata Torba/Młoda Photography)
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Rafa Majka sitting second wheel

Rafa Majka sitting second wheel
(Image credit: Agnieszka Małgorzata Torba/Młoda Photography)
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Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) takes an emotional win

Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) takes an emotional win
(Image credit: Agnieszka Małgorzata Torba/Młoda Photography)
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Small wave from Marek Rutkiewicz (Wibatech 7R Fuji) after his second place finish

Small wave from Marek Rutkiewicz (Wibatech 7R Fuji) after his second place finish
(Image credit: Agnieszka Małgorzata Torba/Młoda Photography)

Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) took a career-defining win in the elite men's Polish national championships. The 29-year-old outfoxed Marek Rutkiewicz (Wibatech 7R Fuji) and Emanuel Piaskowy (Team Hurom) after 261 kilometres of excruciating racing, soloing to the finish line in port city Gdynia.

"I was crying, I was so happy. I am a domestique, my role, most of the time, is helping other riders, ensuring the team's presence in breakaways. It doesn't mean I'm a worse kind of rider, I just do what I do best. I am so proud," Kurek told a group of reporters after the podium ceremony while a shivering from cold and disbelief

Gdynia hosted the final episode of national championships with 72 elite men riders facing cloudy skies and tackling an unnaturally long undulating route in Pomeranian region. Unlike previous editions, organisers decided to run the race on two 84km circuits outside the city and four 11km loops on the streets of Gdynia.

Racing on the coast of Baltic Sea began with last year's silver medallist Marek Rutkiewicz (Wibatech 7R Fuji) spearheading the first move. A climber, Rutkiewicz had team tactics in mind and pushed on, breaking clear with Patryk Stosz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Patryk Kostecki (Domin Sport), Mateusz Nowaczek (Voster Uniwheels) and Emanuel Piaskowy (Team Hurom).

The bunch was off to a slow start and the gap ranged from 11 to 16 minutes in the early part of the day. With rain coming down outside the city, the peloton was close to being caught by amateurs who took to the same route minutes after their road heroes. As the bunch slowly rolled through the countryside, Kurek took up the pace and was the only rider to bridge the massive gap, joining the leaders after 50 kilometres of a solo effort.

"I made my move after around 30 kilometres. Seconds later I was on my own, it felt stupid to just give up. I had good legs, I concentrated and put myself in a time-trial mode, it's sort of my thing. I like moves like that. Today was my day and I took advantage" – he said.

With 160 kilometres remaining, racing started again as the Bora-Hansgrohe riders pushed the pace. Maciej Bodnar and Pawel Poljanski worked with Rafal Majka and crystallised a group of 16 that included all participating WorldTour riders, as well as representatives of key Polish teams.

The WorldTour trio hoped to put their rivals in the red zone and close the gap down before the local laps but they received little help in doing so. The gap went down to four minutes but a lack of cooperation and Rutkiewicz's determination were enough to push it back to six minutes on the local laps. Rutkiewicz and Piaskowy rode their own race, pushing on through a heavy downpour and taking advantage of the circumstances as some WorldTour riders wouldn't take risks on the slippery roads of a technical circuit ahead of Tour de France.

Rain decimated the field – with just under 30 riders remaining in the race and attackers managing a six-minute advantage, medals were to be decided by the breakaway riders. Kostecki, Nowaczek and Stosz faded one by one, while Kurek started briefly working with Rutkiewicz and Piaskowy. He then launched a solo attack with 5 kilometres remaining and never looked back.

"I started taking turns in the final kilometres but I didn't want to wait for the finish. Stuff can happen, you can end up second or third because of chain problems or whatever bad luck. I gave it a go, I knew everybody was tired."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice6:23:02
2Marek Rutkiewicz (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji0:00:12
3Emanuel Piaskowy (Pol) Team Hurom0:00:14
4Mateusz Nowaczek (Pol) Voster Uniwheels Team0:01:03
5Patryk Stosz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:06:12
6Kamil Gradek (Pol) One Pro Cycling0:08:03
7Alan Banaszek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
8Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji
9Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky
10Michal Podlaski (Pol) Voster Uniwheels Team
11Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Elkov - Author Cycling Team0:08:04
12Pawel Franczak (Pol) Team Hurom
13Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky0:08:05
14Kamil Zielinski (Pol) Domin Sport
15Adam Stachowiak (Pol) Voster Uniwheels Team
16Artur Detko (Pol) Domin Sport
17Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
18Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:08:06
19Pawel Charucki (Pol) Domin Sport0:08:07
20Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:08:08
21Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:08:16
22Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
23Szymon Rekita (Pol) LPC0:12:47
24Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Domin Sport0:12:48
25Adrian Banaszek (Pol) Kolss Cycling Team0:12:50
26Konrad Tomasiak (Pol) Team Hurom0:12:51
DNFPrzemyslaw Mocek (Pol)
DNFTomasz Nowak (Pol)
DNFPiotr Skarzynski (Pol) Domin Sport
DNFMaciej Furczyk (Pol)
DNFJaroslaw Rebiewski (Pol) Domin Sport
DNFMichal Braulinski (Pol)
DNFWojciech Migdal (Pol) Team Hurom
DNFMichal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFJacek Morajko (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji
DNFJakub Najs (Pol) Voster Uniwheels Team
DNFLeszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFPrzemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team Emirates
DNFBartosz Warchol (Pol) Team Hurom
DNFKrzysztof Parma (Pol) Voster Uniwheels Team
DNFKamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFBartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) Team Hurom
DNFAdrian Karpiuk (Pol)
DNFMarcin Szenderski (Pol)
DNFDariusz Kolakowski (Pol)
DNFAdrian Teklinski (Pol) SKC Tufo Prostejov
DNFWojciech Pszczolarski (Pol) SKC Tufo Prostejov
DNFAleksander Leduchowski (Pol)
DNFWojciech Sykala (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji
DNFMateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFMateusz Komar (Pol) Voster Uniwheels Team
DNFEryk Laton (Pol) Team Hurom
DNFKacper Gronkiewicz (Pol) Domin Sport
DNFAdrian Honkisz (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji
DNFSylwester Janiszewski (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji
DNFAndrzej Bartkiewicz (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji
DNFMateusz Grabis (Pol) Voster Uniwheels Team
DNFPawel Bernas (Pol) Domin Sport
DNFPatryk Kostecki (Pol) Domin Sport
DNFKrzysztof Krzywy (Pol)
DNFAdrian Kucharek (Pol) Domin Sport
DNFFilip Matoszko (Pol)
DNFWojciech Kargul (Pol)
DNFWojciech Franczak (Pol) Team Hurom
DNFAndrzej Józwik (Pol)
DNFKarol Domagalski (Pol) One Pro Cycling
DNFPiotr Brozyna (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFMarcin Fiolka (Pol)
DNFMarcin Bialoblocki (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
DNFDominik Oborski (Pol) Wibatech 7R Fuji
DNFPawel Staszczak (Pol)
DNFJakub Kaczmarek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice

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