Tour de Pologne (st. 6)
‘Basque alliance’ between Intxausti (2nd) and Ion Izagirre (3rd) at Pologne’s queen stage leaves them twenty seconds behind Majka (TCS) before decisive 25km ITT in Kraków
Despite the dismay that could a result exact same to Thursday’s seem -Beñat Intxausti was second as Ion Izagirre took third, both beaten by local reference and man of the moment Rafal Majka-, the Movistar Team leaves the Tatr mountains willing to fight for everything tomorrow in the 25km individual time trial that will decide the 71st Tour de Pologne in Kraków. The always demanding queen stage in Tatrzanska, with 174km and four laps of a really tough circuit, including the climbs of Zab and Bukowina prior to the uphill finish in the termal city, was close to being contested by a group of twenty riders, those able to get together after lots of attacks prior to the last ascent.
The final move by Majka continued a previous attack into the slopes of Gliczarów (22%), about ten kilometers from the end, and which was responded immediately by an excellent Izagirre. Intxausti and Andrey Amador were initially dropped from the elite group, but both the Basque and the Costa Rican got back to the front together with former leader Petr Vakoc (OPQ). While Amador eventually struggled and lost 48″ across the finish, Intxausti progressed well into the field and held to his chances after Majka’s acceleration, reaching down Izagirre -who had to go on his own pace after being unable to sustain the Polish’s furious pace- and starting a duo pursuit the two Basques from the telephone squad finished 10″ down, entering the provisional GC podium.
A deficit of 18″ and 22″ for Intxausti and Izagirre, respectively, look on paper like a surmountable task for two good specialists -only 28″ after 47km for Ion (silver) against Beñat (6th) in the Spanish championships held in Ponferrada- of a Blue squad that will have two other shots for the stage victory in Amador himself and Italian Adriano Malori, undoubtedly one of the biggest favourites. The Movistar rider will also fight for the teams’ classification, half a minute ahead of OPQS