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

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

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#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 PolkowiceRow 6 - Cell 2
8Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) Wibatech 7R FujiRow 7 - Cell 2
9Michal Golas (Pol) Team SkyRow 8 - Cell 2
10Michal Podlaski (Pol) Voster Uniwheels TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Elkov - Author Cycling Team0:08:04
12Pawel Franczak (Pol) Team HuromRow 11 - Cell 2
13Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky0:08:05
14Kamil Zielinski (Pol) Domin SportRow 13 - Cell 2
15Adam Stachowiak (Pol) Voster Uniwheels TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Artur Detko (Pol) Domin SportRow 15 - Cell 2
17Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 16 - Cell 2
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-HansgroheRow 21 - Cell 2
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)Row 26 - Cell 2
DNFTomasz Nowak (Pol)Row 27 - Cell 2
DNFPiotr Skarzynski (Pol) Domin SportRow 28 - Cell 2
DNFMaciej Furczyk (Pol)Row 29 - Cell 2
DNFJaroslaw Rebiewski (Pol) Domin SportRow 30 - Cell 2
DNFMichal Braulinski (Pol)Row 31 - Cell 2
DNFWojciech Migdal (Pol) Team HuromRow 32 - Cell 2
DNFMichal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 33 - Cell 2
DNFJacek Morajko (Pol) Wibatech 7R FujiRow 34 - Cell 2
DNFJakub Najs (Pol) Voster Uniwheels TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
DNFLeszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 36 - Cell 2
DNFPrzemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team EmiratesRow 37 - Cell 2
DNFBartosz Warchol (Pol) Team HuromRow 38 - Cell 2
DNFKrzysztof Parma (Pol) Voster Uniwheels TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
DNFKamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 40 - Cell 2
DNFBartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) Team HuromRow 41 - Cell 2
DNFAdrian Karpiuk (Pol)Row 42 - Cell 2
DNFMarcin Szenderski (Pol)Row 43 - Cell 2
DNFDariusz Kolakowski (Pol)Row 44 - Cell 2
DNFAdrian Teklinski (Pol) SKC Tufo ProstejovRow 45 - Cell 2
DNFWojciech Pszczolarski (Pol) SKC Tufo ProstejovRow 46 - Cell 2
DNFAleksander Leduchowski (Pol)Row 47 - Cell 2
DNFWojciech Sykala (Pol) Wibatech 7R FujiRow 48 - Cell 2
DNFMateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 49 - Cell 2
DNFMateusz Komar (Pol) Voster Uniwheels TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
DNFEryk Laton (Pol) Team HuromRow 51 - Cell 2
DNFKacper Gronkiewicz (Pol) Domin SportRow 52 - Cell 2
DNFAdrian Honkisz (Pol) Wibatech 7R FujiRow 53 - Cell 2
DNFSylwester Janiszewski (Pol) Wibatech 7R FujiRow 54 - Cell 2
DNFAndrzej Bartkiewicz (Pol) Wibatech 7R FujiRow 55 - Cell 2
DNFMateusz Grabis (Pol) Voster Uniwheels TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
DNFPawel Bernas (Pol) Domin SportRow 57 - Cell 2
DNFPatryk Kostecki (Pol) Domin SportRow 58 - Cell 2
DNFKrzysztof Krzywy (Pol)Row 59 - Cell 2
DNFAdrian Kucharek (Pol) Domin SportRow 60 - Cell 2
DNFFilip Matoszko (Pol)Row 61 - Cell 2
DNFWojciech Kargul (Pol)Row 62 - Cell 2
DNFWojciech Franczak (Pol) Team HuromRow 63 - Cell 2
DNFAndrzej Józwik (Pol)Row 64 - Cell 2
DNFKarol Domagalski (Pol) One Pro CyclingRow 65 - Cell 2
DNFPiotr Brozyna (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 66 - Cell 2
DNFMarcin Fiolka (Pol)Row 67 - Cell 2
DNFMarcin Bialoblocki (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 68 - Cell 2
DNFDominik Oborski (Pol) Wibatech 7R FujiRow 69 - Cell 2
DNFPawel Staszczak (Pol)Row 70 - Cell 2
DNFJakub Kaczmarek (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 71 - Cell 2

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