Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) sprinted to the Tour de Pologne stage 5 victory, coming in just ahead of Eduard Prades (Movistar) and Ben Swift (Team Ineos).
Stage 5 of the Tour de Pologne was an undulating 153km stage with a tough finishing circuit in Bielsko-Biala. Remembering this stage from last year, we knew it was most likely to be a reduced group coming to the line and so our hopes were on looking after Enrico Gasparotto today.
After some good early work by our team to look after Gasparotto, the race entered the city circuit with 25km to go. Ben O’Connor and Stefan de Bod were still on hand after the group had been reduced, should Gasparotto require assistance.
Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quickstep controlled the bunch by setting a fast tempo on the circuit, before Ineos tried to dictate to the uphill sprint. With 70 odd riders starting the final drag to the finish, it was a free for all type sprint with the climbers going up against some of the sprinters that were still part of the main group.
Mezgec was the strongest, taking the stage win. Gasaprotto, more intent on not losing time, started his sprint from the middle of the pack and would cross the line in 11th, as our best placed rider on the stage.
Unfortunately, Gino Mader who had been feeling ill the past couple of day’s was unable to take today’s stage start. Our remaining riders all got through the stage without trouble.
“It was not a bad stage but I know I also had the legs to do better things. I just wasn’t in the right position today. I’m sorry to my teammates and staff, but my mindset is not yet in the right place. What happened two days ago is still inside me, and it brings back a lot of memories from 2016 when I lost my team mate in Gent and to 2017 when I lost my best friend, Michele Scarponi. I think it’s a personal process to be back in the right mindset and to be focused on winning races.” – Enrico Gasparotto