02 August, 2011 – After having dominated the first two stages, an extraordinary Marcel Kittel came over the finish line in Katowice wearing the yellow jersey, arms raised in exultation as he scored a magic hat trick, which had never been done before in the history of the Tour de Pologne.
In today’s final sprint the German from Skil Shimano blew away all the competition once again, beating Frenchman Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil), who came in second, and Dane Jonas Jorgensen (Saxo Bank), third. The third fraction was a fast one, from Bedzdin to Katowice for a total 135.7 km. After the initial part of the route the group entered the spectacular circuit (11.2 km, repeated 8 times) which was splendidly set up in the heart of this Polish city, which was literally taken over by crowds of fans.
The race was lit up with a courageous attempt by five of the day’s attackers: Rodrigues Argueles (Katusha), Gianluca Maggiore (De Rosa-Flaminia), Daniel Sesma (Euskaltel Euskadi), Piotr Gawronski (Poland) and Lukasz Bodnar (CCC Polsat).
The last guy to peter out was Poland’s Bodnar, who shook things up at around the 15 km mark and left his break away companions to set forth on a solo attack, urged on by the cheers and applause of the hometown crowd. On the fast circuit in Katowice the squads of speed specialists had no mercy on the Pole, who got caught by the group with less than 10 km to go to the arrival.
For Kittel this hat trick in the Tour de Pologne comes after the four victories he scored this year at Dunkerque, bringing his season total to 11 victories.
“I’m thrilled with this victory,” says Kittel, who continues wearing the yellow “Skandia” jersey as the leader, and also the white & green “Plus” jersey for the points’ classification. “The stage was the hardest one of the three so far. The team was tired after the hard work they did the first two days, but they were great today, too. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the faith they have in me, cycling is a team sport. It was a super-fast final sprint, my bike’s computer surpassed 78 km/h! (see attached photo). In the next stages I’m going to be especially careful to “survive” the mountains and I’m going to try to help my team mates whenever I can. The points jersey? Let’s see how these next three days go and then we can talk about that.”
Then Kittel reflected on his first year as a pro.
“When I moved up to the pros, everyone thought I was a time trialist after the good results I obtained in this specialty among the Under 23,” says the German. “In my head, however, I felt like I could become a sprinter. When I joined Skil-Shimano I started training a lot to work on intensity, with specific workouts for sprints. The work paid off. Now I feel more confident in the sprint and this also gives great motivation to me and all my team.”
For the joy of the home crowd the cyclamen “Tauron” jersey for the mountains is still on the back of Bartolomiej Matysiak (CCC Polsat) and the red “Fiat” jersey which identifies the most active rider in the group is being worn by Adrian Kurek (Poland), who’s second in the general classification, 17” from Kittel.
The fourth stage is scheduled for tomorrow. It will start out from Oswiecim, the “City of Peace”, which is near the Auschwitz concentration camp (where in 2010 the Tour de Pologne staged a moving memorial dedicated to the tragedy of the Holocaust), and arrive in Cieszyn. The 176.9 km fraction will entail the group briefly crossing the border for a brief stretch in the territory of the Czech Republic.
1. Marcel Kittel (GER) Skil-Shimano 3h 9min 29sec, 2. Romain Feillu (FRA)
Vacansoleil same time, 3. Jonas Aean Jorgensen (DEN) Saxo Bank SunGard s.t.,
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) Leopard Trek s.t., 5. Adam Blythe (GBR) Omega
1. Marcel Kittel (GER) Skil-Shimano 8h 55min, 2. Adrian Kurek (POL)
Reprezentacja Polski at 17sec, 3. Gianluca Maggiore (ITA) De Rosa-Ceramica
Flaminia 22sec, 4. Romain Feillu (FRA) Vacansoleil 24sec, 5. Heinrich Haussler
(AUS) Garmin-Cervelo 24sec,