Majka Climbs to Stage 5 victory in Tour de Pologne 2014
Stage 5 of the Tour of Poland 2014 marked the arrival of mountainous terrain and spectators watched the general classification favorites move to the front of the peloton to challenge their competitors.
This afternoon the Tour de Pologne peloton set out on today's 190 kilometer journey from Zakopane to the uphill finish in Strbskie Pleso. Four categorized climbs were included on the route map and offered good reason for spectators at home and along the route to expect a thrilling finale.
A front trio of breakaway hopefuls was fighting strenuously to maintain a gap to the main peloton, but the chase was on and the escapees were slowly but surely reeled in by the field. Despite the Tinkoff-Saxo team's attempt to control the race, fireworks of attacks were dominating the entire finale from the penultimate climb and until the culmination of the stage.
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rory Sutherland and Evgeny Petrov were both fighting hard to break away from the peloton. They were, however, unable to catch Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge) who rode in solo fashion trying hard to increase his lead and keep the competitors at bay. Tinkoff-Saxo’s hard work at the front of the peloton group resulted in Meier being caught at the foot of the final climb. The Russian team maintained its pressure at the front as they worked their way up the mountain. New attacks, however, were launched from the pack when the majority of the Tinkoff-Saxo team ran out of steam.
Being alone in the final select group of about 25 riders entering the final kilometer of the uphill finish, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka delivered a tactically optimal performance in the final, started the sprint at the right moment and took the stage win as well as the general classification lead.
"Our boys did a fantastic job for Rafal throughout the whole day setting him up for the finale. The final slope wasn't really that steep, so the pace was high and rather big group of 25 riders were to sprint it out between them. Rafal waited and waited until the perfect moment where he demonstrated that he has taken some of his good form from the Tour de France with him home to Poland. Now, he leads with just one second and tomorrow's stage will be far more difficult than today's but our guys are ready to defend the jersey," Saxo-Tinkoff sports director Tristan Hoffman explained after Majka had received a sweet treat from the podium girls on the stage in Strbskie Pleso.
Team Omega Pharma - QuickStep's Petr Vakoc leads the Tour de Pologne overall before tomorrow's stage 6, which is a 174 kilometer ride from Bukovina Terma to Bukowina Tatrzanska.