This week Julian Arredondo is riding his first race since the Giro at the Tour de Pologne and today he faced his first big test in the mountainous stage 5. However, the Colombian is not yet in a condition that allows him to mix it up with the best.
The hills have arrived in the Tour of Poland and the overall classification went through its first big test.
The 190-kilometer stage concluded with three laps of a circuit that included a tough category one climb, with the third time up ending at the finish line.
Trek Factory Racing started stage five, the first of three consecutive, decisive days, ready to play.
“After four stages of seeing the same movie it was time to try something different today," sports director Adriano Baffi said. "We came in with a plan, and it was great to see the whole team execute it.”
The team threw out its first card with Yaroslav Popovych joining the day’s principal eight-man breakaway, which animated the stage until the final circuits.
However, with the tight GC battle on the line the peloton did not give them a huge buffer, and the breakaway was close to being caught the first time up the category one climb with 38 kilometers remaining.
Bob Jungels and Fabio Felline attacked out of the peloton, forming a small group that quickly bridged to the leaders and swell the breakaway to 16 men.
The tactics were perfect: three of Trek Factory Racing in the leading group with 35 kilometers remaining.
Popovych immediately pushed the pace at the front, willing the last bit of strength from his legs for Jungels and Felline - a marvelous display of teamwork - before eventually falling away.
But the threat of the breakaway was too much.
Behind, Garmin-Sharp and Tinkoff-Saxo lent power to the chase, and it was not long until the peloton was back to one large bunch – minus a solo Christian Meier (Orica GreeenEdge), but he too was easily caught before the final climb began.
It was a large group of more than 40 riders who sped up the ending slope, and Trek factory Racing still had one last card up its sleeve: Julian Arredondo.
A few attacks fired, but were easily rolled over by the powering bunch; the explosive climbers patiently waited until the final 100 meters to launch for victory.
Julian Arredondo was with the front leaders to the end, but he lacked his early season form in his usual explosive uphill kick and finished in 13th place.
Over the line Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) sprinted to the win, but surprisingly not the overall. The yellow jersey clad Petr Vakoc (OPQS) finished 26 seconds later and barely held his overall lead, with Majka slotting into second place, a mere one second behind.
Bob Jungels and Fabio Felline both paid for their earlier effort and finished minutes behind, but it was a brilliant card laid when they bridged to the front leaders; although it did not work in the team’s favor today, Trek Factory Racing made its presence felt, and will be back to play hard again tomorrow.
“The attack of Bob and Felline did not work out but we still had Arredondo as our last option," Baffi said. "His job was to wait until the very end, but he just did not have it today. On one hand we are disappointed because we believed we could get a good result, but on the other we put everything we had into the race today, and we have to be happy because we gave 100 percent. We still have two more days to make something happen.”
Kristof Vandewalle quietly finished in 50th place one minute and seven seconds behind the stage winner, and is the highest placed for the team in 42 place (+1'18").
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