Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) won stage two of the Tour of Poland on Monday after a huge crash in the finish straight held up the vast majority of the peloton.
Race leader and stage one winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) came home for second place behind the Italian to retain the overall lead, with Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) in third.
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It’s Pelucchi’s first victory since the Vuelta a Mallorca in February, and it’s also IAM Cycling’s first WorldTour victory of the 2015 season.
The day’s escape group consisted of Sander Armee (Lotto-Soudal), Kamil Gradek (Poland), Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Marcus Burghardt (BMC) and Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo). Burghardt punctured, dropping out of the break to leave a quartet.
The peloton kept the escape on a very short leash, with their advantage never growing more than two minutes. As the race hit the finishing circuits of Dąbrowa Górnicza, the break’s lead dipped under a minute and they were caught with 19.5km to go.
The catch caused an upping of the pace from the peloton, with a variety of teams getting themselves organised at the front. Orica-GreenEdge were in pole position as the bunch hit a tight turn with one kilometre to go.
A massive crash in the finish straight then held up all but nine of the riders. Stage one runner-up Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) was one of those that fell heavily. Kittel amazingly managed to swerve around the fallen riders to claim second place behind Pelucchi, but did not look happy on the finish line, gesticulating at Pelucchi.
Alex Dowsett (Movistar) – the only British rider in the race – witnessed the crash in the bunch, saying via Twitter: “Really happy to have avoided that one, hope everyone’s ok. Made me quite anti disc brakes as well. Just my opinion, but I think we’d see a ton more injuries from mass pileups like that.”
David de la Cruz (Etixx-QuickStep) crashed earlier on during the stage, and was forced to withdraw with a suspected collarbone fracture.
On Tuesday, the riders face stage three of the 2015 Tour of Poland: an undulating 166km route from Zawiercie to Katowice that should once again suit the sprinters before the race gets increasingly hillier from Wednesday onwards. The WorldTour-level race concludes on Saturday.
Tour of Poland 2015, stage two: Częstochowa to Dąbrowa Górnicza, 146km
1. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling in 3-20-12
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
4. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
5. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
8. Lasse Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Garmin
9. Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale all same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 10 secs
3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 12 secs
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing at 12 secs
5. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing at 13 secs
6. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto-Soudal at 16 secs
7. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 16 secs
8. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky at 16 secs
9. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 16 secs
10. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ at 16 secs
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