The 2019 edition of the Tour de Pologne will unfortunately be known forever as the year in which 22-year-old Bjorg Lambrecht of Belgium crashed during the third stage and died later in a hospital nearby.
He was having his best year ever, but after his death, the fourth stage was changed into a processional along a shortened route in his memory. But the racing continued in stage five and in the end, it was fitting that another 22-year-old, Russia’s Pavel Sivakov, became the overall champion with a strong finish in the final two stages.
With the first four stages (discounting the memorial stage) ending in sprint finishes won by Germany’s Pascal Ackermann (1st and 3rd) and Luka Mezgec (SLO: 2nd and 5th), the final two days finally included some climbing and the complexion of the event changed.
Another 22-year-old rider, Denmark’s Jonas Vengegaard won the sixth stage, leading the charge into the final, sharp climb up the Gubalowka with Sivakov and Australia’s Jai Hindley and then racing away on the descent to the finish in Zakopane. That gave Vengegaard the overall lead, but just four seconds over Siakov.
That set up the final stage on Friday, an undulating 153.3 km course that finished on an uphill climb to the Bukowina Resort. Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric made a powerful attack with 56 km to go and broke away from the field.
Polish star Rafal Majka attacked with 46 km to go and Sivakov went with him, but Vengegaard was dropped and with it, his chance for victory.With 35 km left, the group with Sivakov was 54 seconds behind Mohoric and although there were repeated attempts to catch the front-runner, none were successful and he won by 55 seconds.
Behind him, the lead group sprinted for the finish, with American Neilson Powless finishing second ahead of a strung-out series of challengers through seventh. With Vengegaard dropping back, the 18-man group that included Sivakov finished 2:15 behind, but it was enough for an overall win by two seconds over Hindley, with Diego Ulissi (ITA) 12 seconds back. Vengegaard faded to 26th overall. Summaries:
UCI World Tour/Tour de Pologne
Poland ~ 3-9 August 2019
(Full results here)
Final Standings: 1. Pavel Sivakov (RUS), 26:20.58; 2. Jai Hindley (AUS), +0:02; 3. Diego Ulissi (ITA), +0:12; 4. Sergio Higuita (COL), +0:14; 5. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR), +0:14; 6. Pierre Latour (FRA), +0:15; 7. Davide Formolo (ITA), +0:16; 8. Chris Hamilton (AUS), +0:16; 9. Rafal Majka (POL), +0:16; 10. James Knox (GBR), +0:16.
Stage winners: ● 1 (132.3 km): Pascal Ackermann (GER); ● 2 (152.7 km): Luka Mezgec (SLO); ● 3 (150.5 km): Ackermann (GER); ● 4 (133.7 km): no race; ● 5 (153.8 km): Mezgec (SLO); ● 6 (160.0 km): Jonas Vingegaard (DEN); ● 7 (153.3 km): Matej Mohoric (SLO).