187.5km in length, stage one of Szlakiem Walk Major Hubala rolled out of Skarzysko Kamienna taking in no fewer than six KOMs before a mountain top finish in Sw. Krzyz National Park, 650m above sea level.
During the first 40km of racing the peloton was very active, with several breakaway moves forming including Tom Stewart, Tom Baylis and Pete Williams. Finally the elastic snapped and a group of four riders went clear including Yorkshire resident Pete Williams.
As the peloton sat up the group managed to gain an advantage of 3 minutes 20 seconds at the 60km mark. Unfortunately Williams began to struggle at the front and decided he would drop back to the main peloton after around 80km of the race. The team were positioned well in the peloton as the pace increased and the advantage of the breakaway slowly fell. With 50km remaining the leaders were finally reabsorbed into the peloton.
Shortly afterwards a lone rider from CCC Sprandi spotted an opportunity and escaped the front of the peloton, breaking free and with 35km to go. ONE Pro Cycling took control and moved to the front of the bunch in a bid to close down the lone leader and fight for the GC. Steele Von Hoff took up position at the head of the peloton, with the whole team lined out behind him as he focused on keeping the lone rider within reach.
Unfortunately disaster struck as Von Hoff took a left hand corner at speed, losing his front wheel and hitting the ground hard, bringing down Hayden McCormick and Tom Baylis in the process. Baylis quickly found his bike and chased into the front group as Von Hoff managed to lead McCormick back into the peloton.
With the leader caught with 10km to go it was Tom Stewart and James Oram who took up position at the head of the peloton and put ONE Pro Cycling into battle at the front of the race. Hitting the final 3km, Kiwi James Oram worked hard to keep Polish duo Karol Domagalski & Kamil Gradek at the front.
On the steeper part of the climb one rider jumped clear of the leading group and accelerated forward, creating a small gap which the bunch were unable to close down. Sprinting into the finishing straight the lone leader celebrated across the line taking a deserving victory. Domagalski who had been distanced on the steep part of the climb drove hard to regain a small chase group who were surging torwards the line. Joining the chase group just seconds before the line, Domagalski picked up a credible 7th place just 15 seconds behind the stage winner.
Kamil Gradek crossed the line in 14th just 45 seconds behind with Hayden McCormick, Tom Stewart and James Oram rounding out the top 20 leaving it all to play for in tomorrow’s 14.6km individual time trial.