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Tour de Pologne 2019: Stage 1


The peloton has assembled on Krakow's market square for the opening stage of the 2019 Tour de Pologne, a 132km leg that should favour the fast men. The route brings the bunch on a circuitous route in the hinterland of Krakow before returning to the city for three laps of a 4km finishing circuit. There are three classified climbs on the route - Lanckorona, Witanowice and Kaszów - but the sprinters' teams will be hopeful they can keep things under control ahead of the finale.

The stage gets underway at 15:30 CET. Our man in Poland is Aladasdair Fotheringham, and he reports that there has been intermittent but very heavy rain through the morning in Krakow. Although the rain abated before the start, more is forecast through the afternoon.

Mark Cavendish makes his Tour de Pologne debut this afternoon in the colours of Dimension Data. The Manxman missed the Tour de France for the first time in his professional career this season. His first race since learning of his omission was the Adriatica Ionica Race, where he abandoned on stage 2. He is set to line out for Great Britain at the forthcoming European Championships in Alkmaar.

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Away from the Tour de Pologne, Chris Froome has stated that his overriding target during his recovery from injury is to be on the start line of the 2020 Tour de France. The Briton made his first extended comments about the crash that ruled him out of this year's Tour in a video released by his Ineos team this morning. Read more here.

Today's stage marks Fernando Gaviria's first competitive action since he was forced to abandon the Giro d'Italia with a knee injury on the road to L'Aquila on stage 7. "Getting my knee back into shape hasn't been straightforward," Gaviria told Cyclingnews. "One of my tendons was inflamed and my kneecap hurt a lot as a result." Alasdair Fotheringham has more here.

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Maciej Bodnar of Bora-Hansgrohe sets the tempo in the peloton, 3:30 behind the break. Pascal Ackermann won the corresponding stage a year ago and the German is back in action today for the first time since the Tour of Slovenia in June. Ackermann has enjoyed a fine 2019 season to date, winning two stages and the points classification at the Giro d'Italia.

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The unfortunate Kurek has been reabsorbed by the peloton, where Bodnar is still setting the pace behind the escapees.

Deceuninck-QuickStep are also contributing to the pace-making at the head of the peloton, with Fabio Jakobsen's finishing speed in mind. At the Clasica San Sebastian, meanwhile, Deceuninck's Julian Alaphilippe was an early abandon, fatigued from his efforts on the Tour de France. There are still 50km or so remaining in the Basque Country.

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A reminder that our two escapees are Jakub Kaczmarek (Poland) and Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk). The 25-year-old Kaczmarek raced for CCC earlier in his career but has spent the past two seasons at Continental level with Hurom. Planet has been with Novo Nordisk since 2014 and has built a reputation for his willingness to go on the offensive.

Their former companion Kurek, meanwhile, is at the rear of the peloton, his torn shorts and scuffed jersey telling the story of his afternoon. He winces and waves as the television motorbike draws up alongside him.

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UAE Team Emirates have joined Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe's task force at the head of the peloton. There is a strong coalition of sprint teams controlling affairs here, and it is hard to imagine that the escapees can deny the fast men in Krakow this afternoon.

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Away from the Tour de Pologne, Brandon McNulty will move up to WorldTour level in 2020 after signing a three-year contract with UAE Team Emirates. The American has enjoyed steady progress with Rally since becoming junior time trial world champion in 2016, culminating with victory at the Giro di Sicilia earlier this season. Read more here.

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Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe), meanwhile, is the man performing the bulk of the heavy lifting in the peloton for the time being.

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Earlier today, Lucy Kennedy won the inaugural women's Clasica San Sebastian. There are a little over 10km to go in the men's race, where a precocious talent is delivering another remarkable performance.

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The television moto draws alongside the race director's car for a long, lingering shot of Czeslaw Lang. It's been that kind of stage, despite the commendable efforts of Planet and Jakub Kaczmarek.

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The break's lead stretches out to 1:40 as the peloton slows through the feed zone in Ryczow.

The Clasica San Sebastian has just finished, and a full report and results will be available here

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The sun is now beginning to poke through the clouds as UAE, Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to lead the pursuit at the head of the peloton.

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A crash in the peloton sees two Cofidis riders come down heavily.

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Filippo Fortin and Luis Ángel Mate were the two Cofidis riders who crashed, and it is not clear if either man will be able to continue in the race.

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A Dimension Data crashes on the sharp left-hand corner at the start of the final lap...

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Ben Swift launches the sprint from distance...

Fernando Gaviria comes past him, but Pascal Ackermann is with him...

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins stage 1 of the Tour de Pologne.

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) took second ahead of Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

Mark Cavendish was the last rider across the line after coming down in that crash with a little under 4km to go.


Thanks for joining our live coverage of the Tour de Pologne this afternoon. We'll be back with more tomorrow, but in the meantime you can find a full report, results and pictures from the opening stage here.

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