Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale) is the winner of the first stage of the Tour de Pologne, which played out on the gruelling and spectacular circuit between Karpacz and Jelenia Gora for a total 179.5 km, with a 39.5 km loop repeated four times, with four mountain grand prix. Keeping with tradition, the first stage of the Tour de Pologne has brought the name of a young promise from the world of cycling to the forefront. This year this young Italian rider has already proven his talent, and now with this victory he is making his mark on the roads of Poland as well with his first win in a World Tour race. In the group sprint which thinned out into about 40 riders, Moser came out in front of Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank)
The stage was highlighted by a long break on the part of five riders, which took shape from the very first kilometres. Making up the road-running group were Poland’s own Bartolomiej Matysiak (Reprezentacja Polski) and Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank), Italian Federico Rocchetti (Utensilnord Named), Frenchman Sylvain Georges (Ag2r - La Mondiale) and Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot (Orica-GreenEdge). The fugitives put their all into the action, reaching a maximum advantage of almost ten minutes. They took off with the sun but in the central part of the race they also ran into rain, a brief shower that soon gave way to sun again. But it was the rain that made the descent even more sinister and challenging, causing some falls which involved several riders in the group including Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), who got right back on his bike and his teammate Niki Terpstra ruled out. Meanwhile, another fall saw Italian rider Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas-Cannondale) transported to hospital by ambulance. The rider suffered various scrapes but any possible fractures have been ruled out.
At the start of the last lap the fugitives were heading to the finish line with an advantage of a little more than three minutes, but the chase from the group was inevitable and one by one the fugitives were reeled in; the last to give in was France’s Georges, just a few metres from the last passage on the gpm on Karpacz Orlinek, with just twenty or so kilometres to go to the finish line.
Then in the final there were a series of initiatives, first by a small group, then a solo act by Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Sharp) with less than five kilometres to go, followed by Russian Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha), who was caught by the group just a few metres from the finish line, where Moreno Moser poured on a powerful sprint and put all his rivals in line. Places of honour go to Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), second, and Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank), third.
“I knew that today’s stage, on a repetitive, climbing circuit and the slight uphill arrival, could be suited to my skills,” says Moreno Moser. “On the last lap the group was strong on the climb and the selection started coming out, the breakaway was caught up and the sprinters took off. There were 35-40 riders left in the final sprint and I gave it my all to catch up to Kolobnev, who was ahead, and to keep everyone else behind me, and I did it.”
Thanks to this victory Moreno Moser has also clinched the yellow jersey Skandia as leader in the general classification and the white-red jersey Lang Team for the points’ classification.
“Tomorrow the longest stage awaits us, but the route shouldn’t be too difficult, so I’m going to try to be calm and with the team we will work for Viviani, who is our sprinter,” continues Moser. “As far as the classification, it’s still too soon to tell, however on paper I like the route for the Tour de Pologne and it is suited to my skills. In order to win I will have to stay competitive for all seven days of the race.”