Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) won stage 5 of the Tour of Poland. Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac) finished in 2nd place and 3rd went the way of TiesjBenoot (Lotto-Soudal).
The 5th stage of the Tour of Poland turned out to be one of the most grueling day’s on the bike the riders would ever experience. With the course set at 225km and close to 4000m of climbing, the day was always going to be tough. When riders woke up to bitter cold, rain and windy weather conditions, it was almost frightening to think what actually lay ahead of them.
As racing got underway, it was very much the weather that dictated proceedings. 18 riders got away early on and the peloton tried to keep them as close as possible but the gap got up to 4 minutes, meaning they had to keep the pace on all day. Our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were all present in the peloton as the race reached the first of 7 categorised climbs with still 120km to go.
From here on it was just pure carnage, as the peloton and the break both split and riders were strung all over the course. It was like a Belgian spring classic in very bad weather. It was no surprise then that a Belgian, Wellens, showed he was the strongest on the day to arrive at the finish solo, winning by nearly 4 minutes.
Our African Team riders had a torrid time as only 3 of our riders would finish. Songezo Jim, Omar Fraile and Jacques Janse van Rensburg crossed the line 48 minutes down in a large group of battered and bruised riders. After more than 7 and a half hours in the freezing cold and rain, 100 riders abandoned the race including 4 of our own, Kristian Sbaragli, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Matt Brammeier and Adrien Niyonshuti.
Jens Zemke – Sport Director
After a 2 and a half hour transfer, we started at 12:20. It was a 225km stage plus another 10km in neutral zone. It rained the whole day and it was between 10 and 12 degrees. Most of the riders finished when it was dark. So it was a tough day and we lost 4 riders today. Only 99 riders made it to the finish meaning half the peloton didn’t finish. Omar, Songezo and Jacques were our 3 riders to finish but they were well down so no result to speak of today. Our congratulations go to our team at the Tour de France with Mark Cavendish winning another stage. We will fight on here with tomorrow’s stage and then the final time trial as well.