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Tour de Pologne 2017: Stage 1

A week after the Tour de France, the WorldTour cranks back into action with no fewer than three separate events this weekend - so much for the UCI's plans for a coherent season-long narrative. The Clasica San Sebastian takes place today and the RideLondon Classic tomorrow, but our focus for our live coverage this afternoon is on the opening leg of the Tour de Pologne, a 130km stage starting and finishing in Krakow. The peloton takes in some rugged terrain early on before tackling three laps of a finishing circuit in Krakow. The terrain is just tricky enough to force a selection, though the sprinters will hope to prevail.

It's the kind of stage that should appeal to one Peter Sagan, who returns to competitive action this afternoon following his expulsion from the Tour de France in the opening week. Our man in Poland Alasdair Fotheringham has the world champion's thoughts on the race in full here.

 

The peloton is lining up for the start in Krakow, due at 1.45pm local time. With barely three hours in the saddle, it could be a very brisk and explosive afternoon of racing for the peloton in Poland.

 

128km remaining from 130km

There is an immediate flurry of attacks as soon as the flag drops, but as yet no break has formed at the head of the race.

 

125km remaining from 130km

Maciej Paterski (CCC-Sprandi), Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Pawel Bernas (Poland) and Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk) escape off the front of the peloton and establish a small gap over the peloton.

 

119km remaining from 130km

The peloton seems content to allow this quartet some early freedom. Paterski, Planet, Keizer and Bernas establish a lead of a minute over the bunch.

 

113km remaining from 130km

The pattern for the early part of the stage has been established. Our four leaders have built up an advantage of 1:55 over a peloton that is more than happy to leave them to it for the time being.

 

While Peter Sagan's return will garner the international headlines, home eyes are trained firmly on his Bora-Hansgrohe stablemate Rafal Majka. The Pole entered the Tour de France on a high after his Tour of Slovenia victory but was forced out by a heavy crash on stage 9. Majka will look to retrieve his season at the Vuelta a Espana, and his home race is an important stepping stone, as Alasdair Fotheringham explains

 

107km remaining from 130km

Coming so soon after the Tour de France, the Tour de Pologne occupies a curious place on the calendar, but it signals the beginning of the second half of the season. As ever, the field features a number of big names looking to build steadily towards the Vuelta a Espana, including Ilnur Zakarin, Vincenzo Nibali, Rohan Dennis, Tejay van Garderen and Adam Yates.

 

101km remaining from 130km

After a little under 30 kilometres of racing, Paterski, Planet, Keizer and Bernas have a lead of 3:20 over the peloton.

 

96km remaining from 130km

Orica-Scott are among the teams leading the main peloton, with Caleb Ewan's sprint in mind. Robert Power, in particular, has been performing the pace-making duties for the Australian squad.

A puncture for Charles Planet, who quickly gets a spare wheel and rejoins his fellow escapees. They seemed to slacken their pace slightly to wait for him and the break's lead has dropped accordingly to 3:05.

 

88km remaining from 130km

The break covered 40.5 kilometres in the first hour of racing.

 

76km remaining from 130km

Orica-Scott's pace-making at the head of the peloton is beginning to make inroads into the break's lead, which now stands at 2:40.

 

There are just seven riders per team at the Tour de Pologne this year, rather than the usual eight, and this should in theory give breaks a better chance of staying clear. Paterski et alare up against it here, mind. Their lead drops a little further, to two minutes.

 

63km remaining from 130km

The escapees head towards the first of the day's categorised climbs, the Bachowice, with a lead of two minutes over the peloton. 

 

Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) forces the pace on the climb. The Dutchman is in search of a stint in the king of the mountains jersey.

 

59km remaining from 130km

A full-blooded sprint for the points atop the Bachowice between Keizer and Paterski. Keizer takes the point at the top and then relents as he begins the descent.

 

There is rather less intensity in the main peloton as it reaches the same point, 1:38 down on the four escapees.

 

54km remaining from 130km

Orica-Scott's Robert Power has kept a tight hold of the reins at the head of the peloton, but Bora-Hansgrohe, too, look primed to commit to the chase on behalf of Peter Sagan.

 

50km remaining from 130km

There is an injection of pace in the peloton as Bora-Hansgrohe join the chase in earnest, and the break's lead drops to just north of a minute.

 

48km remaining from 130km

Paterski, Bernas, Planet and Keizer continue to swap turns smoothly at the front, but their advantage is beginning to melt. 50 seconds the gap.

 

46km remaining from 130km

The combined efforts of Bora-Hansgrohe and Orica-Scott continue to make inroads into the break's lead. The gap drops to 33 seconds.

 

44km remaining from 130km

We're a little more than 10 kilometres from the second categorised climb at Kaszow, and that could well prove a springboard for further attacks ahead of the finale. 

 

Paterski, Keizer, Planet and Bernas have steadied the ship somewhat at the front, and their lead has nudged back out towards 50 seconds. Cesare Benedetti leads the peloton for Bora-Hansgrohe.

 

37km remaining from 130km

Paterski has been especially active in breathing life into this break over the past 10 kilometres or so. The Pole's efforts are helping to maintain their lead of 1:00 over the peloton.

 

34km remaining from 130km

Paterski attacks on the climb of Kaszow, and only Keizer can follow him. They open a small gap over Planet and Bernas.

 

33km remaining from 130km

Once again, Keizer sprints from distance, and once again he picks up the point on offer at the summit. 

 

The bunch reaches the top of the climb 55 seconds down on Keizer and Paterski, who have definitely dropped Planet and Bernas.

 

31km remaining from 130km

Paterski and Keizer are committed to their effort off the front, and their lead nudges out to 1:10 as they hastily exchange turns. 

 

Planet and Bernas have not relented, mind, and they are still within sight of the two leaders on a long, flat and straight stretch of road at the base of the descent.

 

28km remaining from 130km

Paterski and Keizer have 23 seconds in hand on Planet and Bernas, and 40 seconds on the peloton.

 

26km remaining from 130km

Sagan sits tucked within a phalanx of Bora-Hansgrohe jerseys near the head of the peloton as it hurtles towards Krakow and the finishing circuit.

 

24km remaining from 130km

The riders will face three laps of a four-kilometre circuit in Krakow, meaning that they cross the finish line for the first time with 12 kilometres remaining.

 

23km remaining from 130km

Bernas and Planet's show of defiance comes to an end as they are swept up by the bunch. Paterski and Keizer remain out in front, with a lead of 52 seconds.

 

Paterski takes a long, long turn on the front and opens a small gap over Keizer. The Dutchman isn't quite ready to sit up mind, and he battles grimly to try to get back on terms.

 

Paterski seems committed to this lone effort, but Keizer continues to give chase, about 30 metres behind him.

 

21km remaining from 130km

Keizer grinds his way back up to Paterski's rear wheel. This duo has a lead of 1:16 over the bunch, where Orica-Scott and Bora-Hansgrohe remain at the front.

 

20km remaining from 130km

1:10 the lead for Keizer and Paterski as they enter the final 20 kilometres of this opening stage of the Tour de Pologne.

 

17km remaining from 130km

Keizer jumps away from Paterski to claim the intermediate sprint, then waits for the Pole. Their lead over the bunch hovers above 40 seconds.

 

16km remaining from 130km

And then there was one. Paterski's forcing proves too much for Keizer, who sits up and is caught by the peloton. Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) was third across the line in the intermediate sprint, incidentally.

 

15km remaining from 130km

Paterski's lead is down to just a handful of seconds as he approaches the outskirts of Krakow.

 

14km remaining from 130km

Paterski's adventure off the front comes to an end, as he is swept up by the main peloton. Sunweb take over at the head of the bunch.

 

12km remaining from 130km

Sunweb lead the bunch through the finish line for the first time, with the sprint of Max Walscheid in mind. Three laps of a 4km finishing circuit remain.

 

11km remaining from 130km

The pace is high in the peloton, and it is going to be extremely difficult for anyone to escape its clutches on a circuit like this.

 

10km remaining from 130km

Sunweb continue to dictate terms at the head of the peloton. A determined Bora-Hansgrohe delegation is close behind them.

 

8km remaining from 130km

Two laps to go, and it's still gruppo compatto. A bunch sprint is inevitable. The fast men will get one more sighter of the finish before their sprint.

 

7km remaining from 130km

Sunweb, Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto Soudal and Orica-Scott are among the teams present in numbers towards the front.

 

5km remaining from 130km

Sagan sits around 10 places from the road, surveying the situation ahead of him.

 

4km remaining from 130km

Astana, Sunweb and Bora-Hansgrohe vie for position at the head of the bunch as they take the bell with one lap and 4 kilometres remaining.

 

3km remaining from 130km

Orica-Scott negotiate their way back to the front.

 

2km remaining from 130km

Daniel Oss (BMC) attacks and opens a small gap with Tomasz Marcynski (Lotto Soudal) on his wheel, but they don't get far and are swept up by the bunch.

 

1km remaining from 130km

A late solo effort from a Quick-Step Floors rider will need to be shut down...

 

1km remaining from 130km

Sunweb lead the bunch into the final kilometre, as Bora-Hansgrohe move up.

 

There's a crash in the main peloton with around 500 metres to go, but most of the sprinters make it through...

 

The sprint begins and Peter Sagan is well-placed.

 

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins stage 1 of the Tour de Pologne.

 

Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) opened the sprint from distance, but Sagan's acceleration was devastating. Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) tried to get back on terms, but he had to settle for second place, simply unable to match Sagan's power. 

 

Result:

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
2 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
3 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
 

 

Result:

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 2:56:16
2 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
3 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
4 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
5 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
7 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE-Emirates
8 Pawel Franczak (Pol) Poland
9 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal

 

General classification:

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 2:56:06
2 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:00:04
3 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:06
4 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:09
5 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:10
6 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
7 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE-Emirates
8 Pawel Franczak (Pol) Poland
9 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal

 

Thanks for following our live coverage from the Tour de Pologne today. A full report, results and pictures are available here, and we'll be back with more live coverage from stage 2 to Katowice tomorrow.

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