Tour de Pologne (st. 1)
Hutarovich (ALM) first leader after strong winds, hailstorm, temperature changes, fallen trees and slippery roads take four Movistar Team riders down, with no physical consequences
More than thirty minutes behind the original schedule, the bunch of the 71st Tour de Pologne reached the finish of Bygdoszcz on Sunday as the race started in chaos. What seemed like a calm day, even though still a hard one for all riders –226km from Gdańsk, with headwinds taking the average speed after three hours down to just 35kph-, became a nightmare due to a sudden change of temperature -from 35ºC to just 16ºC-, also including changing gusts of wind and hailstorms that turned the roads into an ice skating field, even taking some trees down over the stage’s parcours.
In such circumstances, the Movistar Team riders -with Andrey Amador (17th) as top performer from the telephone squad across the finish- tried to always stay on the front of the bunch, though they couldn’t avoid three of countless crashes during the stage: a pile-up with 50k from the finish, which held off Sylwester Szmyd -who was received by his fan club in the city that gave him birth-; a small incident into the final circuit, affecting Amador; and a late swerve with just 4km left, avoiding Juanjo Lobato contesting the sprint.
All eight Blues came across the line in good health and, except for Gorka Izagirre -also fallen during the stage, now 35″ down-, all mountain specialists came with the same time of opening leader Yauheni Hutarovich (ALM). The Belarusian will defend his yellow jersey into another 226km stage from Toruń to the country’s capital, Warsaw.