A truly significant event took place in Russian road cycling. Pavel Sivakov won the Tour of Poland, winning his first victory in the World Tour race. Over the past ten years, this is only the second time that a Russian cyclist has become a triumph of competitions at this level. The previous time, Ilnur Zakarin won the Tour of Romandia in 2015.
The World Road Cycling Tour is the most prestigious series of races combining super-days like the Tour de France, the legendary one-day races and various weekly tours. The "Poland Tour" traditionally takes place shortly after the "Big Loop" and collects those riders who were forced to miss it. Among them was the 22-year-old Sivakov, who is a member of Team Ineos, the former cycling giant Team Sky.
This season, the young Russian rider began to be more trusted, and he immediately began to live up to his expectations. In April, Sivakov won the Tour of the Alps European Tour, at the same time becoming the winner of the youth classification, and in May he successfully performed at the debut Giro d'Italia. The Russian took ninth place in the overall standings, beating the same Zakarin, and became the second among young riders.
After a short “Route d'Oxitania” and a missed “Tour de France”, Sivakov was given the opportunity to prove himself on the “Tour of Poland”. Of course, most of the many-day masters missed him. The current winner of the race and local idol Michal Kvyatkovsky should have become an obvious favorite, however, one of the Team Ineos leaders decided not to participate. Thus, all the riders, including the young Russian, had approximately equal chances of success.
The current profile of the “Tour of Poland” was not much different from last year - the same plain first stages and mountain finishes, at which the winner of the yellow T-shirt was to be determined. An important aspect of the race in the Carpathians was the lack of "cutting", capable of somehow introducing confusion into the general classification.
Unfortunately, the first half of the "Tour" was not as calm as expected. On the third day, the Belgian racer Borg Lambrecht crashed to death by crashing into a concrete pipe near the road. The competition program had to be changed - the first mountain stage was shortened and excluded from the classification, turning into a race in memory of a young athlete.
The race organizers, the jury and the cycling teams have made a decision to neutralize the 4th stage of Tour de Pologne to pay our respects to Bjorg Lambrecht. The stage route is reduced to 133.7km and the final laps cut to 1.
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The fifth stage, although it was mid-mountain, but also turned into a sprinter competition, which did not affect the overall score in any way. Sivakov all this time reached the finish line with the peloton and, by the last two races, was behind the German Pascal Ackerman by only 24 seconds. In fact, the path to victory remained open for any rider who could endure two days of racing in the Carpathians.
40 km before the finish of the sixth stage, the circle of applicants narrowed to 20 riders, and Sivakov remained among them. After some time, his team mate Ben Swift went on the attack. While the British rider was driving alone, a quartet of pursuers was formed, which included Sivakov, Dane Jonas Wingegor, Australian Jay Hindley and Briton James Knox. A few kilometers before the finish, the riders overtook Swift, and the leadership group (minus Knox) began to challenge the yellow leadership jersey.
The three riders overcame the final climb and won the victory in the finish line. Wingegor took first place, Sivakov became second, Hindley - third. They were in the same position in the general classification.
"I want to dedicate my win to Bjorg Lambrecht. It means a lot for me" - Jonas Vingegaard. #ForBjorg 🖤 # tdp2019 🇵🇱 @ JumboVismaRoad @ Lotto_Soudalpic.twitter.com / t6fwnyD9Mh- Tour de Pologne (@Tour_de_Pologne) August 8, 2019
At the final stage, Sivakov confidently walked with the peloton one ascent after another, while maintaining a chance for a final victory. And when, 33 km before the finish line, the forces left Wingegora, the virtual yellow shirt went to the Russian. It was enough for Sivakov to finish the race in the general group, since attempts to “escape” from it were made only by riders who wanted to show off in front of the audience and win the last stage.
Invaluable help to the Russian was provided by teammate Theo Geigan Hart, who also had chances for final success, but he preferred to do the rough work. Sivakov finished at the same time as Hindley and won him two seconds in the overall standings, becoming the winner of the 76th Tour of Poland. Before him, only Vyacheslav Dzhavanyan and Sergey Ivanov won this stage race from the Russians, but this was at a time when it was not yet on the main calendar of the season.
RACE REVIEW: "It's fantastic to win with a young guy like Pavel." @ PavelSivakov put the finishing touches to an impressive Tour of Poland victory on the final day # TDP2019- Team INEOS (@TeamINEOS) August 9, 2019
After the race, Sivakov thanked his teammates and said that the main goal for the rest of the season for him would be the World Cup in Yorkshire, which will be held in the second half of September.
“This yellow T-shirt is a victory that has been forged for two days. On the eve of the stage was chaotic, but today it was controlled better. Of course, this victory began on the penultimate day, on Friday it was necessary to save the result and try to lose the leader, intercept the shirt. And so it happened. The team worked perfectly again. Theo Gagan was very impressive. He stayed with me in the last climb. Perhaps in this race he was even stronger than me, but decided to act as my assistant. I want to thank all the guys. We have a very strong young team with a great atmosphere. I would say that a great future awaits us. My next goal is to try to achieve something at the World Cup. I will not play at the Vuelta of Spain, so I’ll try to prove myself well in the championship, ”Sivakov admitted.