Vakoc Soloes to Victory in Stage 2 of Tour of Poland
Team Omega Pharma - QuickStep's young Czech rider, in his first year as a professional, decided to go solo out of an original three rider breakaway with about 25 kilometers left to race. His gamble on the peloton not taking up the chase in time to catch him was a successful one. He took his first UCI WorldTour victory with an advantage big enough to also gain him the leader's jersey and a 27 second advantage in the general classification before tomorrow's stage 3.
With less than ten kilometers to go, the peloton finally realized Vakoc's advantage was substantial and a big threat to the general classification. By then, Vakoc was riding strong with a two minute advantage. Despite sprinter teams chasing hard in the final kilometers, he still crossed the line 21 seconds ahead of the main peloton with a huge, wide smile on his face.
"Being part of the UCI WorldTour this is a big race, so to win solo like this is unbelievable," Vakoc told Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium.
"The toughest moment for me was when we started the finishing circuit. The gap was dropping fast and my legs started to ache a bit. Then with five kilometers to go it started to get really hard, but I just gave it everything in those last five kilometers. I didn't think about anything else than to use every ounce of energy that I had in my body."
"It's a beautiful moment for me. I didn't expect it, and it seems neither did the peloton. When the three of us went away and had a gap at first I wasn't so sure about my decision to join the breakaway group, but then I thought maybe if the gap kept going up and I save enough energy in the final kilometers, I can try to go alone. I was thinking about it, to try and have some energy left to win a stage. It's a great feeling to have this effort pay off and earn my first UCI WorldTour victory of my career here in Poland."
Vakoc, who is also a student of Economics at the University of Prague, won the University Road and Time Trial Championships earlier this season.
"It seems Poland brings me luck as both of my University Championship victories also happened here a few weeks ago. I like racing in Poland. Now, I'd like to fight to keep the jersey as long as I can. It will be hard, but I will fight and I know my teammates will fight with me. We will see in the coming days. I'm a young student on and off and the bike and this will be an opportunity to learn in the best way possible. I'd like to thank my team for giving me a chance today at Tour de Pologne to take this jersey that I am so proud to wear," Vakoc concluded before returning to the team bus to celebrate his victory with his teammates.
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