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Tour de Pologne 2019: Stage 2

It looks set to be another day for the fast men at the Tour de Pologne, as stage 2 brings the race from Tarnowskie Góry to the wickedly fast downhill finish in Katowice. The 153km stage features two category 4 climbs, but they shouldn't discommode the sprinters. 

The stage gets underway at 14:55 CET. The overall standings are as follows after Pascal Ackermann's victory in yesterday's opener in Krakow:

 

1 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 2:57:48
2 Jakub Kaczmarek (Pol) Poland 0:00:03
3 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:04
4 Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
5 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:06
6 Adrian Kurek (Pol) Poland 0:00:07
7 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:09
8 Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:10
10 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
11 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC Team
12 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First
13 Pawe_ Franczak (Pol) Poland
14 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
15 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
16 Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
17 Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
18 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
19 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
20 Mamyr Stash (Rus) Gazprom–Rusvelo

 

Yesterday, Pascal Ackermann won the opening stage in Krakow for the second successive year, and this afternoon the German will look to continue living like it's 2018. Twelve months ago, he emerged victorious in Katowice on stage 2

153km remaining from 153km

Stage 2 of the Tour de Pologne is underway. There are 151 riders remaining in the race after yesterday's opening stage. The Cofidis pair of Luis Angel Mate and Filippo Fortin were forced to abandon after crashing in the finale of stage 1. 

 

After yesterday's intermittent rain, the Tour de Pologne is racing beneath blue skies and in temperatures of 25 degrees in the early kilometres this afternoon.

 

151km remaining from 153km

Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk) was on the offensive much of the day yesterday, and he's on the attack again here. The Frenchman accelerates clear of the bunch and is joined by Pawel Franczak of the Polish national team. They have a small gap over the peloton.

 

It looks as though Planet and Franczak have been granted their freedom by the peloton, as their advantage stretches outwards.

 

142km remaining from 153km

The pace in the peloton is relatively sedate in these opening kilometres and so Planet and Franczak's advantage has yawned out accordingly. They have 3 minutes in hand on the bunch.

 

The 27-year-old Franczak rides for the Voster ATS Team and he placed 8th in yesterday's bunch finish in Krakow, but has decided to try his luck in the early escape this afternoon.

 

137km remaining from 153km

Planet has been granted rather more latitude than he was on yesterday's short opening stage. The escapees have 5:20 in hand on the peloton after 10 miles of racing.

 

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is on hand at the Tour de Pologne after the disappointment of missing out on selection for the Tour de France for the first time in his career. The Manxman endured a frustrating afternoon in Krakow yesterday when a late crash prevented him from contesting the bunch sprint, but he will hope for better fortune in Katowice. "Cav was our card for the final, but he couldn’t contest the sprint after being caught up in that tricky corner. It was more than a 90-degree corner and quite narrow. With everyone fighting for position, there wasn’t a lot of space," said directeur sportif Alex Sans Vega. "We will go again tomorrow." Read more here.

 

133km remaining from 153km

Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk) and Pawel Franczak (Poland) now have six minutes in hand on the peloton.

 

Another man missing from the Tour this year was John Degenkolb, though the German told Alasdair Fotheringham that he was not altogether unhappy with his 'Plan B' schedule of the Tour de Pologne and Vuelta a Espana as he builds towards the Worlds in Yorkshire. "I’ve been training for three weeks at altitude in Livigno, so I feel fresh and ready to race again," Degenkolb said. "I’m still lacking some intensity here, but I’ll get that for sure here this week when I’m racing." Read the full story here.

 

128km remaining from 153km

This far but no further for Planet and Franczak. Their lead reached a maximum of 6 minutes but has since been pegged back to 5:20 by the Bora-Hansgrohe-led peloton.

 

Away from the Tour de Pologne, 19-year-old Remco Evenepoel soloed to victory at the Clasica San Sebastian yesterday, a display that even earned that rarest accolade, praise from Roger De Vlaeminck. Cyrille Guimard, meanwhile, compared the Belgian youngster to Merckx, Hinault, Bernal and, fittingly given his football background, Kylian Mbappé. Evenepoel, meanwhile, will now ride the European Championships time trial, the Tour of Germany and possibly the WorldTour races in Quebec and Montreal as he bids to earn selection for the Yorkshire Worlds. Read more here.

 

122km remaining from 153km

The two escapees Planet and Franczak have nudged their advantage out once again to 5:45.

 

117km remaining from 153km

Planet and  Franczak have completed the opening 33km lap around Tarnowskie Góry and are now on the road towards Katowice with a lead of 5:30 over the peloton.

 

Conditions were pleasant through the opening exchanges, but the two leaders are now riding beneath dark clouds and it seems a heavy rain shower is imminent.

 

A gradual injection of pace in the peloton, meanwhile, has seen the escapees' lead sliced to 4:30.

 

108km remaining from 153km

Bora-Hansgrohe have taken command in the main peloton, with Maciej Bodnar prominent, and the break's lead has dropped still further to 3:30.

 

The RideLondon Classique ended in controversy yesterday when Kirsten Wild, first across the line, was disqualified for causing a crash in the finishing straight, and the victory passed to Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg). Read more here. The men's edition of the race takes place this afternoon.

 

94km remaining from 153km

Back in Poland, Planet and Franczak's lead stands at 3:24, and the situation is strikingly similar to this time yesterday, with UAE Team Emirates and Bora-Hansgrohe setting the pace in the peloton.

 

87km remaining from 153km

Planet and Franczak have a brief parley before the intermediate sprint at Piekary Sląskie. It's clear that Planet, in the mauve jersey of king of the mountains, is happy to strike a deal - he will cede the intermediate sprints to Franczak so long as the Pole doesn't contest the two climbs later on. Franczak seems to be in agreement, though he looks over his shoulder repeatedly as he accelerates past Planet to take this sprint. That's show business, folks.

 

British champion Ben Swift (Ineos) sprinted to take a rather more fiercely contested third place in the sprint. The Briton was in contention for stage honours yesterday but mistimed his sprint, opening his effort from rather further out than he had intended. "Well safe to say I misjudged that sprint pretty badly," Swift wrote on Twitter. "I knew I needed to go early to stand a chance. But that was really early." 

 

 

82km remaining from 153km

The break's lead, meanwhile, has dropped to 2:34 as Bora-Hansgrohe continue to set the tempo in the peloton. 

 

78km remaining from 153km

Pleasant sunshine bathes the Tour de Pologne once again as the two escapees reach Bytom with a lead of 3:12 over the peloton, where UAE Team Emirates and Bora-Hansgrohe hold the reins.

 

75km remaining from 153km

Today's downhill final kilometre in Katowice is arguably the fastest in the WorldTour. Alasdair Fotheringham reports that the unofficial highest speed clocked on this descent was Jonas Van Genechten 80.8kph in 2014, while Marcel Kittel hit 78kph in 2011. It also seems that this year, the organisers are planning to offer a prize to the rider who hits the highest speed with 200m to go. Shades of the 2017 Giro d'Italia's (quickly withdrawn) best descender prize, perhaps...

 

70km remaining from 153km

Fernando Gaviria is back in action on this Tour de Pologne for the first time since a knee injury forced a premature end to his Giro d'Italia. The Colombian sprinted to second place in Krakow yesterday and will hope it is a portent of better things to come in the remainder of the race. Read more here.

 

65km remaining from 153km

UAE Team Emirates already gave Gaviria a vote of confidence by contributing to the chase in the peloton yesterday, and his team are again helping Bora-Hansgrohe control affairs here. 2:04 the gap.

 

64km remaining from 153km

At the second intermediate sprint, Charles Planet lifts himself from the saddle just long enough to take the points ahead of Franczak. So much for talk of a deal. Ben Swift again emerges from the peloton to take third place.

 

61km remaining from 153km

The break's lead drops to 1:15 but might nudge upwards once again as the peloton negotiates the feed zone.

 

60km remaining from 153km

Franczak leads Planet through the day's third intermediate sprint. In the peloton, Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale) emerges to claim third. In the most active rider standings, Planet has 13 points, with Franczak second on 8 points.

 

57km remaining from 153km

Planet and Franczak are in Katowice and the cross the finish line for the first time. Three laps of a 19km finishing circuit remain. Their lead over the peloton stands at one minute.

 

53km remaining from 153km

The peloton won't want to peg back the escapees at this early juncture, and so Planet and Franczak have been allowed to extend their lead slightly to 1:12. Bora-Hansgrohe set the tempo in the peloton.

 

50km remaining from 153km

Into the final 50km for the two leaders, who now have 1:45 in hand on the peloton.

 

Deceunick-QuickStep have taken over at the head of the peloton on behalf of Fabio Jakobsen, but there is no particular urgency in their pursuit as the gap edges out towards two minutes.

 

45km remaining from 153km

The sun is now hidden by dark clouds but the threatened rain has not yet materialised. 2:10 the gap between the break and the bunch.

 

41km remaining from 153km

The situation is a familiar one. Deceuncinck-QuickStep, Bora-Hansgrohe and UAE Team Emirates exchange turns on the head of the peloton, 1:46 down on Charles Planet and his breakaway companion from the Polish national team, Pawel Franczak.

 

39km remaining from 153km

Charles Planet claims the point on offer at the category 4 climb atop Korfantego Avenue and thus extends his lead in the competition. The Frenchman is guaranteed another trip to the podium this evening.

 

38km remaining from 153km

Two laps to go for Franczak and Planet, who have 1:35 in hand on the peloton.

 

34km remaining from 153km

Mark Cavendish moves up towards the head of the peloton in the company of Bernhard Eisel. The intensity has yet to ratchet up in earnest in the peloton, which is 1:35 behind the break.

 

31km remaining from 153km

Bora-Hansgrohe, UAE and Deceuninck-QuickStep's combined pace-setting is gradually eating into the break's advantage, which has dropped inside one minute once again.

 

29km remaining from 153km

Planet and Franczak have seen their lead slashed to 32 seconds, but they will surely be allowed to survive for another 9km or so until the second climb of the day and then the bell for the final lap.

 

27km remaining from 153km

Planet and Franczak are still swapping turns and gamely battling to hold off the peloton. 35 seconds the gap.

 

24km remaining from 153km

It looks as though the freedom granted to Planet and Franczak will last as far as the crest of the climb, but expect to increase markedly in the peloton when they take the bell with 19km to go.

 

21km remaining from 153km

The gap is just 15 seconds as the two escapees hit the base of the final classified ascent. They should survive to fight it out for the KoM point at the top but that is as far as their adventure will last.

 

19km remaining from 153km

Correction. The final KoM point on offer comes a kilometre into the final lap. Planet and Franczak take the bell with just 10 seconds in hand on the peloton.

 

18km remaining from 153km

Planet leads through the king of the mountains sprint then sits up and shakes hands with Franczak. Their work for the day is done as the peloton swallows them up.

 

16km remaining from 153km

As was the case yesterday, Ineos swarm to the front on the final lap of the finishing circuit. 

 

15km remaining from 153km

The peloton is beginning to line out as the pace picks up in the last 15km. Dimension Data move up on behalf of Cavendish.

 

12km remaining from 153km

The speed in the peloton is just enough to dissuade any would-be attackers. Bora-Hansgrohe set the pace on behalf of Pascal Ackermann, who moves up as they hit the cobbled section in the old town.

 

10km remaining from 153km

Bora-Hansgrohe lead with purpose into the final 10 kilometres. The yellow jersey Ackermann is the man to beat this afternoon on this downhill finale that seems so suited to a powerful sprinter like the German.

 

8km remaining from 153km

Cesare Benedetti and Maciej Bodnar lead the way for Bora-Hansgrohe. A delegation from Dimension Data moves up behind them.

 

6km remaining from 153km

Benedetti's forcing is such that he cruises off the front of the peloton alone and opens a small gap before he is brought to heel by Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

 

5km remaining from 153km

Benedetti slots back into his role at the head of the bunch. There is plenty of movement behind him, as the sprinters attempt to manoeuvre themselves into position ahead of the finale.

 

4km remaining from 153km

There's a sizeable block from Deceuninck-QuickStep perched just behind Benedetti. Jakobsen will not want for support in these final kilometres.

 

3km remaining from 153km

Still Benedetti sets the pace at the head of the peloton, with that delegation from Deceuninck-QuickStep still lined up behind him.

 

2km remaining from 153km

After that remarkable stint of pace-making, Benedetti relents, and Petr Vakoc takes over for Deceuninck-QuickStep. Bob Jungels, Fabio Sabatini and Fabio Jakobsen are lined up behind him.

 

2km remaining from 153km

Vakoc and Deceuninck-QuickStep lead into the final 2km. The Czech is pulling the peloton up this final drag before that rapid drop to the line.

 

1km remaining from 153km

Bob Jungels has taken over and leads the bunch beneath the flamme rouge with two riders from Trek-Segafredo just behind him.

 

Jungels leads the way down slope and towards the finishing straight...

 

Trek-Segafredo take over for John Degenkolb.

 

Fernando Gaviria opens his sprint from a long way out...

 

Luka Mezgec comes off Gaviria's wheel...

 

Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) wins stage 2 of the Tour de Pologne.

 

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) placed second, while Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) took third. 

 

Mezgec came from way, way back in that sprint. The Slovenian found his way onto Gaviria's wheel, however, and then produced his finest sprint in years to claim victory.

 

Danny van Poppel placed 4th ahead of Marc Sarreau. Further back, a disappointed Fabio Jakobsen managed to get blocked in but he already had a lot of ground to make up at that juncture.

 

Max Walscheid (Sunweb) took 6th ahead of Sacha Modolo (EF Education First).

 

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) retains the yellow jersey, 2 seconds ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and 4 ahead of Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott).

 

Mezgec was a stage winner at the Tour of Slovenia in June, but this is his first WorldTour win since 2014, when he racked up stage victories at the Giro d'Italia, Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of Beijing.

 

Result:

 

1 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott 3:32:42
2 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
3 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
5 Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
7 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First
8 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
10 Enzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal

 

General Classification after stage 2:

        
1 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 6:30:26
2 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:02
3 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:04
4 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:10
5 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Ineos 0:00:12
6 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:13
7 Quentin Jauregui (Ned) AG2r La Mondiale
8 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:14
9 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
10 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First
 

 

 

A full report, results and pictures from today's stage will be available here. A report from today's RideLondon Classic, which has just finished, is available here.

 

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