Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) took his first WorldTour victory of the 2017 season on Sunday, winning stage two of the Tour of Poland.
The Italian was a convincing winner of the bunch sprint in Katowice, finishing ahead of Danny van Poppel (Team Sky) and Maximilian Walschid (Team Sunweb).
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Van Poppel did, however, earn the prestigious consolation prize of moving into the overall lead, on countback ahead of both Modolo and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
In the sprint, stage one winner Sagan found himself badly positioned in the finale, and finished down in eighth place.
Also disappointed were Orica-Scott, who, despite having shared much of the earlier workload with Bora-Hansgrohe, found themselves exposed far too early, with just two riders leading the bunch ahead of their sprinter Caleb Ewan with 5km still to ride.
When Ewan was left isolated as Petr Vakoc attacked following good work from his Quick-Step Floors team at the front, Team Sky took it upon themselves to close the gap.
The catch was made, but Sky did not manage to control the peloton, and a disorganised dash to the line was prompted when Walscheid began his sprint.
Behind him Modolo burst from out the slipstream, and sprinted to victory.
The break of the day consisted of Kamil Gradek (Poland), Joonas Henttala (Novo Nordisk), Adrien Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), who was on the attack for the second day running.
With around 90km still to ride Kurek attacked the others and set off on a solo ride, showing off his Polish national champion’s jersey in front of his home crowds.
Kurek remained at the front of the race as his erstwhile companions were absorbed by the bunch, until he too was caught 38km from the finish.
The early catch prompted other riders to chance their arm. Pawel Bernas (Poland) – who was in the break yesterday – attacked as soon as Kurek was caught, only to be caught some 7km later.
The final 20km were characterised by a flurry attacks. Daniel Oss (BMC) tried not once but twice to get off the front – the second time along with GC threat Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) – but was shut down both occasions, as was a move from Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) with just over 7km to go.
The 2017 Tour of Poland continues on Monday with stage three, a testing 161km trip from Jaworzno to Szczyrk that includes two ascents each of the category one Salmopol and Zameczek climbs in its second half and with a climb to the finish. It should represent the first chance for the GC hopefuls to stretch their legs with another shake-up of the top 10.
Watch: Show us your scars – Danny van Poppel
Tour of Poland 2017, stage two: Tarnowskie Góry to Katowice, 142km
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, in 3-15-21
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
3. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
4. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
5. Youcef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension Data
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac
7. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
10. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data, all same time
General classification after stage two
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky, in 6-11-27
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
3. Sache Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
4. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 4 secs
5. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb, at 6 secs
6. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data at 9 secs
7. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 9 secs
8. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 10 secs
9. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 10 secs
10. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana, at 10 secs