World champion Mads Pedersen took his first win in the rainbow jersey on the Tour of Poland 2020 stage two, beating the sprinters at the their own game in a bunch gallop to the line.
His Trek-Segafredo team did a perfect lead out for him and he delivered with a powerful sprint from a long way out, beating the likes of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) on the line.
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Pedersen, who finished third on the same course in the 2019 edition of the race, also takes the overall lead from Kamil Malecki (CCC Team) thanks to time bonuses.
How it happened
The riders started the day in Opole, with an unpleasant feel around the race after Fabio Jakobsen’s (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) crash from the day before, and travelled on a flat 151.5km to Zabrze where the riders faced by a short 6km circuit, that they would ride four times.
A two-man breakaway escaped early and it was made up of two riders who were also up the road on day one of the race. Julius Van den Berg (EF Pro Cycling) who wears the mountains jersey and Maciej Paterski (Polish National Team) who wears the blue jersey of most active rider.
Kamil Małecki (CCC Team) wore the yellow jersey due to Dylan Groenewegen’s (Jumbo-Visma) disqualification and Fabio Jakobsen being obviously unable to take the start. CCC didn’t want to accept the jersey and offered it to Deceuninck-Quick-Step, but regulations meant that Małecki had to wear it.
As the riders entered the circuit the two breakers up front had just 30-seconds with 20km to go. The peloton’s pace was high to keep the racing safe and strung out, with the bunch just 13-seconds down on the break as they crossed the line for the first time.
A lap after entering the circuit, the break was brought back with 16km to go. It was Lotto-Soudal, Mitchelton-Scott and Bora-Hansgrohe that had control and had done throughout the day.
Heading into the last lap Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain-McLaren lead the peloton to try and lead out their sprinters to victory. A much more organised finish with three lead out trains of Trek, Sunweb and UAE Team Emirates, had control with 3km to go.
Pedersen was led perfectly to the front of the bunch in the final few hundred metres and was launched his sprint first a long way from the line. Ackermann was the only rider who really looked to challenge him, but the German just left it too late, unable to stop the world champion taking the victory ahead of him.
The Tour of Poland continues on Friday with stage three, a hilly 203.1km route from Wadowice to Bielsko-Biala.
Tour of Poland, stage two – Opole -Zabrze (151.5km)
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, in 3-26-02
2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
5. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team Sunweb
6. Albert Torres (Esp) Movistar Team
7. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Team
8. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
9. Piet Allegaet (Bel) Cofidis
10. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar, all at same time
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, in 7-57-42
2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 4s
3. Kamil Małecki (Pol) CCC Team, at same time
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 6s
5. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at same time
6. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates, at 10s
7. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Team
8. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team Sunweb
9. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Bahrain-McLaren
10. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling, all same time.