Carpathian Couriers Race 2016: Alan Banaszek wins stage 1

Alan Banaszek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) sprinted to the victory on stage 1 of 2016 Carpathian Couriers Race.

Polish rider, last year’s European junior road race champion, crossed the line ahead of Alexander Wachter (Tirol Cycling Team) and Jonas Castrique (Lotto Soudal U23).

Stephan Bakker (Cyclingteam Jo Piels) assumed the overall lead thanks to bonus seconds gained at the intermediate sprint.

The stage started in sunny Veszprem as riders headed north to Papa, dealing with 150 kilometers of mostly flat terrain, marked by one categorized climb.

Sebastian Schonberger (Tirol Cycling Team) and Marceli Zieliński (TKK Pacific Toruń) were the first riders to establish a significant advantage over the peloton, ending the break forming process that spanned over first 25 kilometers. Belarusian Raman Tsishkou made it across but wasn’t up to the challenge and the Polish-Austrian duo had to soldier on without any help.

The peloton tried to bring the attackers back with two intermediate sprints coming up in the early part of the stage but timed it wrong and Zieliński claimed first prizes ahead of his Austrian companion. Klein Constantia’s Jonas Bokeloh led the bunch across the line and a few minutes later the move was over.

General classification lead was at stake at second intermediate sprint as Stephan Bakker (Jo Piels), 2nd in yesterday’s prologue, looked for time bonuses. Dutch rider took three seconds ahead of Alexander Wachter (Tirol) and Michał Paluta (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), gaining time on Hamisch Schreurs (Klein Constantia) and securing the leader’s jersey.

The battle for seconds was followed by a ceasefire and a period of relative calmness in the bunch, however, as the third sprint loomed on the horizon, bells started ringing and attacks rocked the peloton. Timur Maleev (ISD Jorbi) and James Knox (Team Wiggins) organized a break and were quickly joined by Patryk Stosz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice). A counterattack with Yuriy Natarov (Astana City), Rocco Fuggiano (Altopack-Eppela Coppi Lunata) and Jakub Najs (TC Chrobry Scott Głogów) also bridged and six riders constituted a leading group after 90 kilometers of racing.

Lack of cooperation and different interests among breakaway riders resulted in wasting an advantage of a minute. Stosz only managed to win the last intermediate sprint ahead of Natarov and Knox before the peloton brought them back with 30 kilometers remaining.

A myriad of attacks followed as the peloton approached the first categorized climb of the race. Russian Evgenii Koberniak emerged victorious atop Papakovacsi ascent, securing the lead in climbers classification ahead of Stefan Stefanovic (Metalac Quick) and Matteo Alban (Altopack-Eppela Coppi Lunata).

The peloton entered the final 10 kilometers together, yet the general nervousness and first bunch sprint coming up took their toll as crashes broke it into two. The stage was still decided by a bunch sprint and final meters saw two European junior road race champions battling for the win. Alan Banaszek took his first victory in U23 category, outsprinting last year’s stage winner Alexander Wachter and Jonas Castrique.

Finish in Papa concluded racing on Hungarian soil during 8th edition of Carpathian Couriers Race. Stage 2 starts in Trencianske Teplice and leads through Slovakian regions of Zilina, concluding after 132 kilometers in Stara Bystrica.

Full results available here.

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