Pieter Weening took his first WorldTour overall victory in Krakow today. The Dutchman won the Tour de Pologne, leapfrogging up to the highest spot on the leader’s board after finishing sixth in the final stage time trial. Weening netted four top ten stage results en route to the general classification win.
“Pieter has had the most consistent year of his career,” said Sport Director Matt White. “He’s come close to several stage wins this season at Langkawi, the Giro, Pais Vasco and, of course, Poland. After so many close calls, it’s especially good to see him hit this target.”
“It’s been a long, hard week,” added Weening. “This is a big win for me. Winning at a WorldTour race is always a really important result. I’m satisfied with what we achieved here.”
Weening previewed the time trial course ahead the stage start. He liked the look of stage seven from the car window.
“We did a recon this morning in the car instead of on the bike because I have already done enough kilometres this week,” Weening explained. “I saw from the beginning that it was a time trial that would be really good for me. It was always up and down, and I had to push a big gear all the time. That’s perfect for my capabilities.”
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) bested Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard Trek) for the stage win. The Brit posted an untouchable winning time of 46’36 over the 37km test. Weening was the best of the overall contenders in sixth place on the stage, 1’44 behind Wiggins.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning while I did my time trial,” said Weening. “I didn’t think much about the general classification result. I wanted to give everything one last time. That’s all I could do. I hoped it was enough for a good result on GC in the end.”
Weening had started the stage in fifth place, 27” behind overnight leader Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale). Faster than Riblon at the intermediate time check, Weening had recouped enough time at the finish to win the overall by 13" over Riblon.
“Someone affiliated with the race organisation was standing near me,” said Weening. “He had a race radio, and he was the one to deliver the good news. When he told me I had done it, I was pretty happy right away. This was a big goal.”
“You know, people seemed really surprised when we didn’t select Pieter for the Tour,” White added. “He had such a good Giro, and they thought it was an oversight on our part not to include him on the Tour team. Poland has long been a target, and that’s why he didn’t race the Tour. People might not know this but he’s run second and fourth at Poland in the past. It’s obviously a race that suits him. This year was the hardest edition because of the two stages in the Dolomites at the start..”
Weening credits the team atmosphere and hard-working staff as key ingredients to his success throughout the week.
“The whole team works really well together,” said Weening. “It helps to have a good race when you can laugh around the dinner table. The staff worked really hard, too. They always do on this team. In the end, everything was perfect.”