Stage two of the Tour of Poland reached a surprise conclusion on Monday with Petr Vakoc claiming a shock win in Warsaw.
Vakoc had formed part of a three-man breakaway on the 226km trek from Torun, and left his accomplices behind on the concluding laps before solo-ing to his first professional triumph.
The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider crossed the line 21 seconds ahead of the main bunch, who seemed unaware of his presence, and failed to mount the usual chase in the closing stages.
Indeed, Michael Matthews celebrated as if he had won the stage when he outsprinted Boris Vallee (Lotto-Belisol) and Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano) at the line, but the Orica-GreenEdge rider had to be content with second place as Vakoc had already taken the spoils.
The result saw Vakoc rise to the top of the general classification and the 22-year-old neo pro now holds a 27-second advantage over former yellow jersey holder Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R), with Roman Maikin (RusVelo) four seconds further adrift in third.
In stark contrast to Sunday’s stage, the action took place under calm and sunny conditions and Vakoc was part of a trio who attacked from the gun, building a lead of over six minutes as they traversed the pan-flat parcours.
Overnight leaders AG2R were tasked with keeping them in check for most of the day, although Team Sky temporarily sent riders forward and Tinkoff-Saxo also lent a hand before the three finishing circuits.
The break had fractured by the time they made it onto those loops, with Vakoc digging deep to evade his pursuers and wrap up the biggest win of his fledgling career.
Giant-Shimano, Belkin and Orica-GreenEdge had all been prominent on the final laps, but Vakoc’s presence had clearly not registered as their lead-out trains stalled before the flat-out battle for second.
Stage two result
1 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 5:22:54
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, +21
3 Boris Vallée (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, same time
4 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano, st
5 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R, st
6 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
7 Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha, st
8 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale, st
9 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano, st
10 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, st
1 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, 11:11:28
2 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +27
3 Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVelo, +31
4 Boris Valee (Bel) Lotto Belisol, +33
5 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida, same time
6 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat, +35
7 Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale, st
8 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
9 Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha, st
10 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale, st