Martinelli tests the waters on Poland opening day
The Italian, making his return to competition after an injury, tried to catch the sprinters by surprise in the final two kilometers.
The 74th edition of the Tour de Pologne rolled out Saturday afternoon from Krakow, which hosted both the start and the finish of the inaugural stage, one for the fast riders of the bunch, who had their teams take the front and control the breakaway as soon as four men opened a gap: Pawel Bernas (Poland National Team), Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk).
With the stage being only 130 kilometers in length, the advantage didn't go north of four minutes and the quartet were reeled in on the first lap of the finishing circuit. Davide Martinelli, a stage winner at the past edition, put in a strong attack with two kilometers to go, hoping to foil the sprinters' plans, but the Italian was brought back by the pack inside the final 1000 meters despite putting some daylight, just before a crashed took several riders to the ground.
“The teams were not so well-organised with two kilometers remaining and I felt the legs were strong, so I decided to try something. I gave everything and at one point I really thought it was possible to go all the way to the line, but they came really fast from behind and it was game over with 500 meters left. The condition is there, as is the motivation, so I’m keen on trying again next week”, said 24-year-old Davide.
The stage was won by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), ahead of Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) and Danny van Poppel (Team Sky), while all the Quick-Step Floors concluded the day safely in the peloton and will now look towards stage 2, between Tarnowskie Góry and Katowice (142 kilometers).
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele