Phil Bauhaus wins opening stage in Poland

Thanks to Phil Bauhaus, Team Bahrain Victorious got off to a winning start to the Tour de Poland in Chelm. As for the remaining six stages of this race, the odds for the riders in red and black to win another stage look pretty promising.

The organisers of the Tour de Pologne have packed a lot of variety into the course of this year’s race: Three or four stages look suitable for bunch sprints. Meanwhile, the overall standings are likely to be decided in the two hilly stages to be raced on Thursday and Friday. The selection of Team Bahrain Victorious for this seven-stage race is reflecting the course, featuring a dedicated sprint train and riders who excel in punchy finales. Phil Bauhaus can rely on the assistance of Heinrich Haussler and Marcel Sieberg while Eros Capecchi and Kevin Inkelaar are tasked to keep the race under control. As for the more demanding stages, the team has selected two contenders for strong results with Matej Mohoric and Dylan Teuns, two riders who have won stages in this year’s Tour de France already.

The race started with a long stage from Lublin to Chelm, with most of the climbs packed into the first half of the distance. Three riders attacked and got away early on, building a maximum lead of six and a half minutes. Team Bahrain Victorious tasked Kevin Inkelaar with pacing duties at the front of the peloton, and the breakaway was brought back with 15 kilometres to go. From there the riders in red and black focussed on keeping Phil Bauhaus out of any trouble on the local loop and piloting him into the bunch sprint in a favourable position. On the last kilometre, Matej Mohoric made a serious effort to bring Bauhaus back to Heinrich Haussler's wheel and to anticipate the acceleration of the others right after.

For a short moment, Alvaro Hodeg seemed to have caught his rivals on the wrong foot with his sprint from far. But the last kilometre was all uphill on cobblestones, making for a complicated sprint. «I was getting slightly nervous when I was on the wheel of Gaviria who lost contact to the Quickstep riders», Phil Bauhaus said after the podium ceremony. «Due to this, I had to give chase hard with 300 meters to go. Luckily I had saved some energy for the last ascending 150 meters, and so I managed to accelerate one more time and get past Hodeg just before the finish line.» For Phil Bauhaus, this was the sixth win of the season already. Today's second stage from Zamosc to Przemysl ends with a ramp that will most likely be too hard for the pure sprinters, thus serving up an opportunity for riders such as Dylan Teuns.

1. Phil Bauhaus, GER/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 5:01.24 hours
2. Alvaro Hodeg, COL, st
3. Hugo Hofstetter, FRA, st