Tour de Pologne 2016 review: Tim Wellens scoops the prizes in Poland

Tim Wellens’ solo victory on Saturday’s queen stage during a Dantesque deluge brought him a suitcase full of jerseys, including the race leader’s, and a healthy GC margin, which he maintained into Monday’s individual time-trial (after the organisers cancelled Sunday’s stage). He finished only some 30 seconds off overall runner-up Fabio Felline and third placed Alberto Bettiol to confirm his overall victory.

Rider of the Race

Cycling: 73rd Tour of Poland 2016 / Stage 5

Tim Wellens celebrates as he crosses the line on stage 5

Fortune favours the brave! The race was effectively decided on Saturday’s rain-soaked queen stage when Tim Wellens – probably in a desire to get back to the bus as quickly as possible – joined the break of the day, formed after an early crash, which combined with the weather to decimate the peloton. Wellens was initially accompanied by two team-mates before riding away with 45km remaining to solo across the finish line with a comfortable margin over the other contenders.

Predictably, noted time-trialler Alex Dowsett (Movistar) won the final stage. Wellens finished in 13th place – not always unlucky – some 90 seconds off the pace, but only 30 seconds or so behind his closest rivals. It was pretty much a Lotto Soudal clean sweep with Wellens taking three jerseys, the team prize and teammate Tiesj Benoot in fifth place. This was 25-year-old Wellens’ third WorldTour victory this season after stage wins in Paris-Nice and the Giro d’Italia 

Fresh faces

Runner-up Fabio Felline at 26 years old was the elder statesman of this year’s top five with baby-faced Alberto Bettiol (third overall) and Tiesj Benoot (fifth overall) both aged just 22 years’ old while Davide Formolo (fourth overall) is 23. The Tour de Pologne is a race that’s typically used to ‘blood’ up-and-coming talent. Winners from previous editions include Dan Martin (2010), Peter Sagan (2011), Rafal Majka (2014) and Ion Izagirre (2015). These youngsters are in great company and their results here, despite or indeed because of the weather, bode well for their future.

Finally, a shout out for one of my cake tasters who finished 7th overall!

I’ll be baking that man from IAM a cake of his choosing. What’s it to be Larry? My race-winning organic, gluten-free brownies?

Brave organisers, correct decision!

Mention the Tour de Pologne and everyone immediately thinks of inflatables and rain. This year, it was definitely the latter which held sway. With just over half the peloton in contention for the last two stages, the organisers decided initially to shorten and then to cancel the penultimate stage from Bukovina after further heavy rains flooded the roads,reduced visibility and rendered racing dangerous. The remaining riders whole-heartedly welcomed the decision.

The decision to donate the cancelled stage’s primes to charity was another popular move.

Final results

1 Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 23:47:23

2 Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) +04:22

3  Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac) +04:54

4 Davide Formolo (Cannondale Drapac) +05:07

5 Tiesj Bennot (Lotto Soudal) +05:22

Jerseys

Points Jersey: Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac)

King of the Mountains Jersey: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

Most Active Jersey: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

Best Polish Rider: Pawel Cieslik (VERVA-Activejet)

Team Classification Leader: Lotto Soudal

Stage winners

Stage 1: Davide Martinelli (Etixx-QuickStep)

Stage 2: Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep)

Stage 3: Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo)

Stage 4: Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep)

Stage 5: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

Stage 6: Cancelled

Stage 7: Alex Dowsett (Movistar) Video to come

Links : Official race website

Header: The winner, Tim Wellens, Tour de Pologne 2016/ Facebook 

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