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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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. 



General classification:

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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