Matthews wins bunch kick for second on stage 2 of Tour of PolandMon 4 Aug 2014
Multiple grand tour stage winner Michael Matthews has won the bunch sprint for second position on stage two of the Tour of Poland this afternoon.
Reigning champion Pieter Weening also finished in the main peloton to protect his title defence ambitions.
The second place for Matthews, 21 seconds behind solo winner Petr Vakoc (OPQ), confirmed the 23-year-old’s return to form after an injury that saw his last minute withdrawal from the Tour de France.
“It was probably a little bit of a surprise more than anything,” sport director David McPartland said.
“We knew he was going OK but we didn’t think he had come back to such a high level so quickly.
“It’s a good positive note for the next couple of days.
“It has confirmed that he has come back with reasonable condition. Tomorrow we will take a little more responsibility and if it looks like it is going to be a bunch sprint we will set Bling (Matthews) up again."
The day’s main three-man break, including Vakoc, was given a biggest advantage of seven minutes with 50km left to ride. As his counterparts fatigued Vakoc went alone following the final intermediate sprint, the peloton not fighting with its usual vigor to close the gap and settling on a battle for the minor placings.
“I was surprised because there are a lot of teams that have got sprinters here and none of them were really putting the pressure down too much,” McPartland said.
“We all realised it was too little too late. Everyone underestimated Vakoc, us included. It was incredible how strong he finished.”