On Tuesday, stage 2 of the Tour de Pologne made a first cut in terms of the general classification. Unfortunately, Groupama-FDJ did not really get in the mix. Romain Seigle was the only rider from the team able to follow the first bunch that fought for the stage win in Przemyśl’s uphill finish. However, the Frenchman crossed the line almost a minute behind the winner Joao Almeida. Wednesday’s stage 3 could suit the sprinters despite quite a hilly start.

Just like in the opening stage, it did not take long to see the good move establish itself on the roads of the Tour de Pologne, on Tuesday. At the very beginning of the 200 kilometres planned for stage 2, Patryk Stosz (Poland), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education-Nippo), Gabriel Cullaigh (Movistar) and Nikita Stalnov (Astana-Premier Tech) took the lead. They enjoyed a four minute-lead at best, but the peloton was not willing to take any risk and reduced the gap under two minutes halfway through the race. Three riders took advantage of the situation to join the leading group, namely Manuele Boaro (Astana-Premier Tech), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-hansgrohe) and Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo). The fugitives regained some momentum as they made their way to the decisive part of the stage. “There were three small climbs in the last 40 kilometers in addition to a pretty hard hill-top finish,” said Frédéric Guesdon. “For us, the start of the race was quite calm. Our goal was then to protect Attila [Valter] to make sure he could get to the climbs in a good position and fight with the best”.

“A disappointing day”, Frédéric Guesdon

While Lukas Pöstlberger tried to make the adventure last a little longer in the climbs, the field shredded apart on the 10% slopes. At the end of this hilly sequence, the team only had Romain Seigle in the first bunch made of 40 riders or so. “Attila was not in a great day and he was distanced quite early, considering his level,” said Frédéric. “We hope it’s just a bad day for him and now we’re going to change our goals with him. He’s going to be more aggressive, and he has no other choice because the GC is lost. If he wants to get anything out of this race, he will have to take the lead on the hilly stages”. In a good position and quite active in the last climb of the sequence, Romain Seigle also followed a move launched by Rémi Cavagna ten kilometres from the finish, but it did not prove successful. It eventually all came down to the last 1,500 meters averaging 8%. “We knew that Romain was going to make it through the climbs, as we were counting on him to give Attila a hand”, noted Frédéric. “He stayed with the best but found himself a bit isolated afterwards, so it was not easy for him to position himself at the bottom of the last climb. Within this field, the slightest mistake counts. He probably wasted a bit too much energy beforehand and couldn’t compete with the best at the finish. In the end, it’s still a disappointing day. We expected better”.

Romain Seigle crossed the line 53 seconds behind the winner Joao Almeida, in 33rd position. “We will now aim for stage wins,” concluded Frédéric. “There can potentially be sprints on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday for Jake. For the rest, we will go with Attila and Romain. Tomorrow, the start of the race is hard and the course is 226 kilometres long, but there is still a good chance it will be a sprint”.

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