Weening finishes safely in the bunch on stage 1 of Tour of Poland

Sun 3 Aug 2014

Reigning champion and general classification hopeful Pieter Weening has maneuvered a chaotic day of racing to finish amongst the bunch on stage one of the Tour of Poland today.

Canadian Christian Meier, in his first race since making his Tour de France debut, finished in 13th position as ORICA-GreenEDGE’s top rider on a day plagued by countless crashes.  Yauheni Hutarovich (ALM) won the stage.

 “I was really happy that Pieter was safe, up the front and out of trouble,” sport director David McPartland said.

“Even riding in the front 20 was dangerous on that finishing circuit but he has got the experience, he knew exactly where he had to be and got through the day, in relative terms, quite well.”

Unexpected weather conditions affected the team’s strategy as temperatures dropped from 36 to 16 degrees and riders where hit with a hailstorm and nasty wind.

“All of the action started at 60km to go,” McPartland said.

“Up until that point the race was quite tame.

“Then with the weather change, the crashes and the pressure of the break coming back, it all just happened at once.

“The weather outlook didn’t even have rain, it definitely affected our plans.

“And the finish circuit was quite dangerous, it was like finishing on a criterium circuit with that many corners.

“Everyone got through it. A few of the guys hit the deck but no major injuries luckily.”

The team’s designated sprinter Michael Matthews got caught up amongst the crashes in the final 10km but tomorrow’s 226km stage two is expected to offer up another opportunity.

“It was a shame that Michael couldn’t get up there but it is his first day back racing and as long as he got through, there are plenty of big things to come for him,” McPartland said.

“We would expect another bunch sprint tomorrow.

“There will probably be another break like today but there are a lot of sprinters teams here so we would expect it to come back together.”