Stage one of the Tour of Poland was peppered with small crashes on a tricky finishing circuit around Katowice, but the final sprint saw a shocking crash that involved the entire bunch on the finish line.
A traditionally hectic and fast sprint closed with the two Dutch star sprinters, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), colliding as Groenewegen moved to his left.
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The collision pushed Jakobsen in and over the barriers, throwing him into the finish arch as well as an official.
The barriers flew across the road taking out several other sprinters, with Groenewegen falling after he crossed the line first.
How it happened
The riders started in the Stadion Śląski just outside Katowice before doing a loop and finishing back in the same city over 195.8km, with the finish that Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) previously won by hitting 82km/h.
The race begins on August 5 to pay respect to Bjorg Lambrecht, who tragically crashed and then died a year ago today at this race.
As proceedings started, four riders went up the road with Julius Van den Berg (EF Pro Cycling), Kamil Małecki (CCC Team), Samuel Brand (Novo-Nordisk) and Maciej Paterski (Polish National Team). With Paterski taking the blue most active jersey and Małecki taking the king of the mountains jersey
The almost pan-flat day was controlled by Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Jumbo-Visma and Bora-Hansgrohe doing the main bulk of the work with riders Jakobsen, Groenewegen and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) all eyeing the stage win.
With 29km to go, a crash brought Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) and John Degenkolb (Lotto-Soudal) down amongst others, but all seemed relatively okay. Another crash meant Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale) both suffered mechanicals.
Into the final lap around Katowice and Trek-Segafredo took over with CCC and Ineos battling for the lead before the bigger-name sprint teams came back up to the front again.
The laps took the riders on a bike track through a park, which is where Bora and Deceuninck retook the lead with Mark Cavendish‘s Bahrain-McLaren team just behind them, before it opened out with 11km to go.
With 7km to go, Ineos took full control of the peloton, Sebastien Molano (UAE Team Emirates) hit the deck in flamboyant fashion as he flew into a bollard and cobbles. More crashes continued to affect the race through the tight roads through the city.
No clear lead-out trains took the peloton into the final kilometre and the sprint was incredibly messy until Sunweb took the lead.
Ackermann, Groenewegen and Jakobsen then took over, Groenewegen moving across into the path of Jakobsen who then went flying into the barriers, hitting the finish posts with a hideous crash, along with a few others, including an official that was standing next to the finish line.
Dylan Groenewegen crossed the line first and went down over the line along with Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) and Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ).
Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) got a 20 second penalty for using bike paths and pedestrian walkways so drops out of the top ten on the stage.
Tour of Poland, stage one – Stadion Śląski – Katowice (195.5km)
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 4-31-50 -10s
2. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, -6s
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, -4s
4. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
5. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
6. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Team
7. Damien Touzé (Fra) Cofidis
8. Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto-Soudal
9. Moreno Hofland (Ned) EF Pro Cycling
10. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time.
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 4-31-40
2. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 4s
3. Kamil Małecki (Pol) CCC Team, at same time
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 6s
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates, at 10s
6. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
7. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Team
8. Damien Touzé (Fra) Cofidis
9. Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto-Soudal
10. Moreno Hofland (Ned) EF Pro Cycling, all at same time.