Stage six of the 2016 Tour of Poland was abandoned on Sunday due to extremely wet conditions. The riders had completed the first of five laps of a hilly circuit from the Bukovina Resort, but the stage was neutralised and then cancelled on grounds of safety
On Saturday, 85 riders failed to finish stage five after wet and cold conditions, leaving just 100 riders from the original start list of 200 in the seven-day WorldTour race. A number of teams are down to just two riders, including Etixx-QuickStep, Astana, Dimension Data and IAM Cycling.
Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski, who is a hugely popular home favourite in the race, praised the Tour of Poland race director Czesław Lang for making the decision to cancel the stage. “Big thanks to Czesław Lang who had made so difficult decision together with riders! Feel sorry for fans who came to watch,” said Kwiatkowski on Twitter.
Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) added his thanks, saying “It was not easy decision to cancel this stage @Tour_de_Pologne but we riders respected organisers and they us. We are one UNIT!”.
Giant-Alpecin rider Koen De Kort echoed Stybar’s sentiments, saying: “Think the right decision to cancel stage @Tour_de_Pologne. Dangerous extreme weather. Thanks riders & organisation for all being on one page”.
Lang also made the decision that all of the unpaid Prime prize money from stage six would be donated to charity. Cannondale-Drapac rider Toms Skujiņš hailed this as good news, saying “The Tour of Poland has made two great decisions today”.
Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) won stage five to take the overall race lead by 3-48 over Italian Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac) with Tiesj Bennot (Lotto-Soudal) in third at 4-37.
Much better weather is expected for Monday’s final time trial stage in Krakow, which covers 25km to decide the overall winner.
British time trial national champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar) has targetted the stage, and joked on Twitter “Finally, endured six stages of this bunch racing malarkey for a proper race today, TT day. Hoping for good legs.”
The time trial looks to play to Dowsett’s strengths, featuring a flat out-and-back route. Dowsett’s biggest rivals for the stage win are likely to be team-mate Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), Kwiatkowski, Wellens and Manxman Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky).