HTC-Columbia sprinter André Greipel was back to his usual winning ways in the Tour of Poland on Monday after being caught out by Sunday’s huge crash close to the finish.
Stage two’s sprint was almost as chaotic as stage one, with a slight downhill and some very tired legs in the bunch after a 240 kilometre grind (as well as 12 kilometres of neutralised racing) through southern Poland making it even harder to control.
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However on this occasion there were no crashes to spoil the final dash for the line in Dabrowa Gorniza, a town best known in Poland for being home to the country’s largest steelworks.
After breakaways Marcin Sapa (Lampre) and Bartlomiej Matysiak (BGZ) were reeled in, Rabobank and Astana drove hard on the front to keep any late attacks under control.
However, after yesterday’s crash, even they took it fairly carefully on the last real technical challenge of the day, a 180 degree bend with two kilometres to go.
Vancansoleil and Sky piled on the pressure, but with 200 metres to go Greipel dived down the right hand side of the road then darted towards the centre for the final drive towards victory.
There were a good two bikelengths of daylight between the German, now onto his fifteenth win of the season, and second placed Allan Davis (Astana). Belgian Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) rounded off the day’s podium, whilst Sky’s Chris Sutton went two better than his stage one result, taking fourth.
Davis got the leader’s jersey as consolation prize for his runner’s up spot, but it’s debatable how long he’ll hold onto it.
After Monday’s 240 kilometre marathon, stage three is just over half the length – 122 kilometres – with the main challenge seven laps of a 11.7 kilometre city centre circuit in Katowice with two climbs per lap. In theory, it should be where the gc contenders start to make themselves seen.
Tour of Poland 2010, stage two: Rawa Mazowiecka to Dabrowa Gornicza, 240km
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia
2. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
3. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
4. Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky
5. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil all same time
23. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky
52. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky
160. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Team Sky all same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana in 10-08-14
2. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at same time
3. Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia at same time
4. Aitor Galdos (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 4 secs
5. Blazej Janiaczyk (Pol) Poland BGZ at 4 secs
31. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at 10 secs
47. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 10 secs
141. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Team Sky at 10 secs