Tour of Poland: Majka wins first mountain stage

After his impressive double stage wins in the Tour de France, and the mountains classification jersey, Rafal Majka carried the weight of his home nation in the Tour of Poland, but despite the enormous pressure, the Tinkoff-Saxo rider came good on the first day in the mountains, to win stage 5 from Movistar duo Beñat Intxausti and Ion Izagirre.

"I must say a big thank you to my teammates because they worked from the first to the last climb for me and they also sent one guy into the breakaway," Majka said. "I am very happy to win but it was not an easy stage, with a fast final ascent on the big ring. I felt a little bit tired. But the people standing on the road and screaming 'Majka! Go! Go! Go!' gave me an extra motivation. Tomorrow will be hard again and we will need to fight."

Race leader Petr Vakoc (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), who began the day 37 seconds ahead of Majka, lost contact in the final kilometer, but rallied, coming to the line just 26 seconds behind. Although Majka gained a 10-second time bonus on the line, he just missed taking the leader's jersey from Vakoc by a single second.

Intxausti is now third at five seconds.

Keeping the yellow jersey was a big surprise for Vakoc, who was initially told that the gap to Majka had been 27 seconds at the line. In the tie breaker he would have lost to the Polish rider.

"I thought at first that I had lost the yellow jersey because I saw a time difference of 27 seconds on the finish line, and someone told me that I had lost it," Vakoc said. "So I went back to my hotel and took a shower. Then I saw on Twitter that I still was in the lead and I got a phone call from my press officer. So I went back to the podium as quick as I could! I am very happy to hold on my jersey. I still hope I can have it tomorrow evening but I know it will be hard. I definitely will do my best."

Intxausti stressed the importance of being up front in the finale, and the six second time bonus he won for second place will be important for the two stages ahead.

"The team is very strong and we have three options with Amador, Izaguirre and me," Intxausti said. "It's possible Majka will get isolated tomorrow. With the stage and the ultimate time trial I think I have more opportunities to win."

How it unfolded

The 190km stage from Zakopane to Štrbské Pleso in Slovakia was the first chance for the overall contenders to test their legs, and the start could not have been a bigger contrast between the hot and sunny, flat previous four stages. A cool, light rain fell on the peloton as they made their way into the Carpathian mountains and across the Polish border into Slovakia.

With a fast start to the stage, it took a while before the day's escape formed, and with the general classification at stake, no group would gain more than a couple minutes.

The Polish CCC Polkowice team started the hostilities, with mountains leader Maciej Paterski keen to extend his lead in that classification, in light of the three category 1 climbs at the finish, and a category 2 and category 3 climb in the first half of the stage.

Paterski was joined by Jimmy Engoulvent (Team Europcar) and Sebastian Lander (BMC), but other groups kept shooting off the front of the peloton. Yaroslav Popovych (Trek), Murilo Fischer (FDJ), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Marco Haller (Katusha), Hugo Houle (AG2R) and Poland's Pawel Bernas made the bridge.

Paterski claimed the top mountain points on the climb at Huty, 67.9km into the stage, and Bernas claimed both sprint points at 92.1 and 102.2km before the climbing started in earnest. While the breakaway enjoyed its maximum gap of 3:50 in the valley, the peloton used the flatter roads to begin to close it down.

The rain began to fall more heavily as the peloton neared the two 25km finishing circuits, all containing the category 1 Štrbské Pleso climb. On the first ascent, an attack came from Trek's Fabio Felline, who pulled Bob Jungels up to the breakaway, then later dropped off the pace. Other successful bridgers included Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida), Sergey Chernetsky (Katusha) and notably Rory Sutherland (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge).

Meanwhile, up ahead, Paterski and Lander battled for the mountain prime, with the Pole winning out, but his time out front would soon end.

The climb did damage to both the composition of the breakaway and its gap. On the descent, they had a slim 45 seconds, and riders began to drop back to the bunch. First to go was Felline and Haller, then Engoulvent gave up the ghost.

An attack from Meier on the second trip up the climb further detonated the breakaway, and the pressure from the peloton began to pick the escapees off one by one.

Sergio Henao (Sky) attacked from the field but could not reach Meier. The Orica-GreenEdge man held his lead until just 14km to go, but the final ascent proved to be his undoing.

Johannes Frohlinger (Giant-Shimano) and Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC Polkowice) were the next to attempt to bridge on the long, gradual ascent, but they too were pulled back in, just before Meier was caught.

Robert Gesink (Belkin) showed his form was on the rise, and he put in a little dig as the leaders were caught, but it did not last and he was countered by RusVelo's Ilnur Zakarin.

Garmin Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal tried to break up the 50-strong group with several surges, but a last-gasp attack with 2km to go went nowhere, and he was countered by defending champion Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge). Spanish champion Izagirre chased him down, but then the Movistar tactics fell apart.

Coming into the finale, Gianluca Brambilla (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) led out the sprint, with Intxausti taking over, but both were passed by Majka, as Izagirre then found an extra burst of energy to come around for second.

 

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo4:30:38
2Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 4 - Cell 2
6Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Davide Formolo (Ita) CannondaleRow 6 - Cell 2
8Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-MeridaRow 9 - Cell 2
11Serguei Firsanov (Rus) RusVeloRow 10 - Cell 2
12Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory RacingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenedgeRow 13 - Cell 2
15Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin SharpRow 15 - Cell 2
17Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team KatushaRow 18 - Cell 2
20Marek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 19 - Cell 2
21Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 20 - Cell 2
22Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Larry Warbasse (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:09
24Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 23 - Cell 2
25Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 24 - Cell 2
26Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:12
27Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:13
28Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky0:00:15
29Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale0:00:17
30Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 29 - Cell 2
31Philip Deignan (Irl) Team SkyRow 30 - Cell 2
32Kamil Zielinski (Pol) PolandRow 31 - Cell 2
33Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) RusVeloRow 34 - Cell 2
36Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team0:00:24
37Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:00:26
38Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 37 - Cell 2
39Christophe Kern (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 38 - Cell 2
40Petr Vakoc (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 40 - Cell 2
42Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar Team0:00:31
43Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:38
44Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) CannondaleRow 43 - Cell 2
45Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:48
46Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) RusVelo0:00:54
47Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 46 - Cell 2
48Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:00
49Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:04
50Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing0:01:07
51Joshua Edmondson (GBr) Team Sky0:01:09
52Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team SkyRow 51 - Cell 2
53Pawel Cieslik (Pol) PolandRow 52 - Cell 2
54Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol0:01:19
56Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar0:01:21
57Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:01:31
58Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo0:01:34
59Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team SkyRow 58 - Cell 2
60Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.frRow 59 - Cell 2
61Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge0:02:12
62Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo0:02:29
63Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky0:02:42
64Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 63 - Cell 2
65Sergey Chernetsky (Rus) Team Katusha0:03:09
66Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:03:28
67Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 66 - Cell 2
68Maxime Mederel (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 67 - Cell 2
69Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky0:04:18
70Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 69 - Cell 2
71Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 70 - Cell 2
72Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:04:59
73Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 73 - Cell 2
75Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin Sharp0:07:13
76Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica Greenedge0:07:53
77Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica GreenedgeRow 76 - Cell 2
78Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 77 - Cell 2
79Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Belisol0:08:55
81Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo0:09:26
82Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 81 - Cell 2
83Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 82 - Cell 2
84Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 83 - Cell 2
85Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 85 - Cell 2
87Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Garmin SharpRow 86 - Cell 2
88Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Team KatushaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenedgeRow 90 - Cell 2
92Arman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin SharpRow 93 - Cell 2
95Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 94 - Cell 2
96Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La MondialeRow 95 - Cell 2
97Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
98Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Damiano Caruso (Ita) CannondaleRow 98 - Cell 2
100Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team EuropcarRow 99 - Cell 2
101Oscar Gatto (Ita) CannondaleRow 100 - Cell 2
102Moreno Moser (Ita) CannondaleRow 101 - Cell 2
103Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104Nathan Brown (USA) Garmin Sharp0:09:37
105Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Poland0:12:44
106Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 106 - Cell 2
108Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La MondialeRow 107 - Cell 2
109Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.frRow 108 - Cell 2
110Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale0:16:28
111Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory RacingRow 110 - Cell 2
112Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) FDJ.fr0:16:30
113David Tanner (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:16:32
114Pawel Franczak (Pol) Poland0:18:32
115Bartosz Warchol (Pol) PolandRow 114 - Cell 2
116Marco Haller (Aut) Team KatushaRow 115 - Cell 2
117Matthias Krizek (Aut) CannondaleRow 116 - Cell 2
118Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 117 - Cell 2
119Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ.frRow 118 - Cell 2
120Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat PolkowiceRow 119 - Cell 2
121Andrey Solomennikov (Rus) RusVeloRow 120 - Cell 2
122Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 121 - Cell 2
123Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 122 - Cell 2
124Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory RacingRow 123 - Cell 2
125Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 124 - Cell 2
126Timofey Kritskiy (Rus) RusVeloRow 125 - Cell 2
127Ivan Balykin (Ita) RusVeloRow 126 - Cell 2
128Laurent Mangel (Fra) FDJ.frRow 127 - Cell 2
129Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 128 - Cell 2
130Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La MondialeRow 129 - Cell 2
131Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin SharpRow 130 - Cell 2
132Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 131 - Cell 2
133Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin SharpRow 132 - Cell 2
134Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin SharpRow 133 - Cell 2
135Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 134 - Cell 2
136Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory RacingRow 135 - Cell 2
137Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 136 - Cell 2
138Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 137 - Cell 2
139Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 138 - Cell 2
140Maxim Belkov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 139 - Cell 2
141Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 140 - Cell 2
142Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.frRow 141 - Cell 2
143Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 142 - Cell 2
144Pawel Bernas (Pol) PolandRow 143 - Cell 2
145Kamil Gradek (Pol) PolandRow 144 - Cell 2
146Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:25:48
147Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 146 - Cell 2
148Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:30:05
149Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 148 - Cell 2
150Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 149 - Cell 2
151Konrad Dabkowski (Pol) Poland0:31:08
15