Fabio Jakobsen emerged triumphant after a dramatic final on stage three of the Tour of Poland 2019 only to be quickly relegated for pushing a rider in the sprint, handing a second victory to Pascal Ackermann.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter Jakobsen looked to be out of contention into the final 200 metres but fired from a long way back to knock race leader Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) into second.
But footage from the sprint showed Jakobsen taking his hand off the bars to push Groupama-FDJ’s Marc Sarreau to make space for his move.
Sporadic downpours throughout the day caused treacherous racing, as two out of the three riders in the breakaway went down in the final 6km after sliding on wet road surface.
Ackermann was gifted the win as Jakobsen was relegated, holding the race lead with Danny van Poppel (Jumbo-Visma) taking second and Trek-Segafredo’s Mads Pedersen in third.
The stage result was overshadowed by the tragic death of young Belgian rider Bjorg Lambrecht of Lotto-Soudal, who crashed on the stage and subsequently died in hospital.
How it happened
Stage three of the Tour of Poland 2019 was a nailed on opportunity for the sprinters, with a 150.5km pan-flat route from Chorzow to Zabrze in the south of the country, culminating in three laps of a 19km finishing circuit.
With only categorised climb on the route – 400 metres long at 4.5 per cent – there was minimal appetite to spend the day in the breakaway, with only three riders attacking from kilometre zero and immediately being allowed an advantage.
Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk), Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Adrian Kurek (Poland) were the three riders sailing away from the peloton early on.
The trio built up a considerable six-minute advantage in the opening 30km, but the peloton opted to ramp up the chase to ensure the bunch sprint.
Rain began to fall heavily on the race, but conditions improved as the escapees were reeled back to a 2-30 advantage with 70km of racing left.
Bora-Hansgrohe held the front of the peloton to control the pace for race leader Pascal Ackerman, with UAE Team Emirates.
Downpours started once again to drench the peloton and caused hazardous racing conditions, as proven by a crash on a roundabout with around 40km to the line, which took down three Novo Nordisk riders.
With 30km left to race, the breakaway trio held a one-minute advantage but with Bora still driving the pace the catch looked inevitable.
Despite the odds being stacked against them, Planet, Shalunov and Kurek committed to the break and still held 15 seconds with eight kilometres left to race, as the drying roads posed more danger for the peloton.
Drama then struck with around 6km left to the line as Planet was caught out by a wet patch on a gentle left-hand turn, sliding out and forcing Kurek wide who then barrelled through the pedestrians at the side of the road.
Shalunov avoided the fall and pushed on alone but was caught with just over 2km left to race, setting up the bunch dash for the line.
All the major sprinters were still represented at the front of the bunch, as Bora continued to smash the race for Ackermann.
Bob Jungels then set a pace for Jakobsen, with Gaviria and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) not far behind.
Jakobsen that started his sprint from eighth wheel, giving Groupama-FDJ’s Marc Sarreau a pretty hefty push with his left hand to make space.
It was a huge sprint from a long way back that took the Dutch champion to the line first, but race leader Ackermann was later handed the victory after Jakobsen’s push had been reviewed by commissaires.
Tour of Poland 2019, stage three: Chorzow to Zabrze (150.5km)
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 3-29-41
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
3. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
4. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
5. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
6. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
7. Mac Sarreau (Fre) Groupama-FDJ
8. Andrea Peron (Ita) Novo Nordisk
9. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
10. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Merida, all same time
General classification after stage three
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 10-00-01
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates, at at 12s
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 14s
4. Pawel Franczak (Pol) Poland, at 16s
5. Jakub Kaczmarek (Pol) Poland, at 17s
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 18s
7. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 20s
8. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Ineos, at 22s
9. Quentin Jauregui (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at same time
10. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Merida, at 23s