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David Dekker has finished fifth in the first stage of the Tour of Poland. In a hilly stage through the east of the country it came down to a bunch sprint. Dekker was able to battle for the podium places.
Immediately after the start three riders went on the attack. The sprinter teams kept the three in sight and at 45 kilometres from the finish the leaders were caught. Despite several attempts to create an advantage - one of then included Jos van Emden - it came down to a power sprint uphill. Phil Bauhaus proved to be the strongest.
Sports director Arthur van Dongen spoke of a useful day. “We expected that a front group would be formed quickly and that actually happened. We didn’t want to jump in. Some of our guys came back from a crash and are here to get some race rhythm. In the final the breakaway group was caught earlier than usual in a sprint stage. That’s why the race caught fire and Jos was in a breakaway with three men.”
Van Dongen was positive about Dekker’s performance. “In the final we tried to help David and until ten kilometres before the end we succeeded in this pretty well. After that David was on his own. He had to come from too far, but eventually he sprinted to a good fifth place. This shows that David is in good shape, especially considering the difficult finish with cobblestones and a steep road. These arrivals suit him well and will suit him even better in the future. We expect more sprint stages, in which we hope we can also sprint with Olav Kooij.”
"I felt strong today"
Dekker had mixed feelings about the first stage. “I had hoped for something more today. I had to do a lot myself in the final lap and I had to come from afar, so that was far from ideal and it also cost a lot of energy. That was a shame, because it was a finish that suited me very well. I felt strong today. The morale was good, I had a lot of confidence and I was really looking forward to it. I think stage five suits me as well, but Olav and I will alternate the sprints during this stage race. I hope that when it’s my day again, the course is in my favour.”