Rafal Majka: “I'm going to do everything I can  to defend this prize.”
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rafal Majka: “I'm going to do everything I can  to defend this prize.”

by Ben Atkins at 4:16 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
Saxo-Tinkoff rider’s slim lead could see him the first home rider to win the Tour of Poland for a decade

rafal majkaRafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) finished today’s second stage of the Tour of Poland, between Marilleva Val di Sole and the Passo Pordoi, in the race leader’s yellow jersey. Despite Polish riders Maciej Paterski (Cannondale), Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) all taking part in the stage’s big breakaway, it was Majka that was to take the spoils in his home tour.

Starting the day in third place overall, Majka was the best placed rider to arrive at the finish in the front part of what was left of the peloton, as yellow jersey Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) cramped and lost 27’26” on the stage winner, and second place Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) losing 6’42” on the final climb.

The race lead was by no means a foregone conclusion, however, with stage winner Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) taking a ten-second time bonus on the finish line, and another for his third place in the daily “Attractivity” classification. Luckily for Majka, hard work from the chasers - which included teammate Chris Anker Sørensen - meant that he finished just 1’35” behind the Frenchman, which meant that he still leads him by six seconds.

"I am very happy to have the leader's jersey and to be the best Pole in the race for now," said Majka. “It means a lot to me. I like the idea of arriving in Poland with this jersey on my back. It's important for me and for the team, which worked a lot for me today. I have the yellow jersey but the next days are going to be a battle.”

In between Majka and Riblon, however, is Colombian Sergio Henao (Team Sky) who trails by just four seconds as the race heads towards the six remaining stages in Poland. With the toughest two stages out of the way, Majka is determined to try to become the first home rider to win the race since it joined the WorldTour in 2005.

“Henao is very close in the classification and there are other riders who are a threat,” said Majka. “I'm going to do everything I can  to defend this prize.”


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