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"I don’t even know at this point where we finished in all this confusion other than that Silvestre crashed three times, Arredondo four times and broke a bike, and lost over six minutes. Popo [Popovych] crashed and I believe both...

Photo: Sirotti








03.08.2014 @ 23:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Trek lined up at the Tour de Pologne with the hope that Bob Jungels could contest the GC and Julian Arredondo could go for stage wins in the mountains. Both riders got the race off to a bad start in the treacherous conditions on stage one as the former lost more than a minute and the latter crashed no less than four times.


The Tour of Poland opened with a flat and long 226-kilometer stage, which began under hot, steamy weather but when rain and hail moved in for the last hour, temperatures plummeted and road conditions quickly deteriorated.  


The final three local circuits of 7.2 kilometers made for a treacherous ending, and at one point the remaining four men of the day’s principal breakaway all slid out in a corner.


Behind, the peloton fared no better as the ice-like roads caused frequent pile-ups, and by the end the carnage was abundant. A large crash with five kilometers to go caught up the team’s GC leader Bob Jungels.


Julian Arredondo was worst hit, he found himself on the ground an astonishing four times, with Fabio Sivestere crashing three times - simply the team had a horrible day at the office.


“It was not a good day for us," sports director Adriano Baffi said. "There was a storm in the last 50kms, which resulted in incredible crashes. I don’t even know at this point where we finished in all this confusion other than that Silvestre crashed three times, Arredondo four times and broke a bike, and lost over six minutes. Popo [Popovych] crashed and I believe both Felline and Bob lost 30-40 seconds at the finish. I think we only had Kristof [Vandewalle] finish with the front bunch.”


Despite all the chaos by the final kilometer the breakaway was caught and the anticipated bunch sprint played out. Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R-La Mondiale) sprinted to the win and the first leader’s jersey of the eight-day race.


Trek Factory Racing, already a man down before the start with Robert Kiserlovski too ill to travel to Poland, endured further pounding by stage's end: five of its seven riders had crashed.


“It was impossible for Robert to come, and it was too late for us to make a change to the roster so we started with seven," Baffi said. "Tomorrow Robert will undergo more blood tests; right now we do not know what is causing his illness, but he was in the hospital with severe vomiting.


"Our objectives here are to make a good GC with Bob, and also stage wins, especially with Arredondo and in the final TT with Vandewalle.  I am not certain how much time Bob lost today, so we shall have to see what damage there may be to our overall hopes.”


When the official results were posted Bob Jungels had lost one minute and eight seconds, Julian Arredondo was over six minutes behind, and Kristof Vandewalle the only survivor from the team to finish with the main peloton.


Although the team suffered a minor blow to its overall ambitions and endured more than its fair share of crashes, they thankfully escaped the first day melee with only scrapes and bruises and will be ready to fight again tomorrow.



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