Dream day for the French on Kohutka! Rondel wins and takes the lead!

“It’s a perfect day – first and second place on the stage and in the general classification” – described a delighted Mathys Rondel after winning the second stage of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix. The Frenchman was clearly the best on the demanding climb to Kohutka, where he won… ahead of his national teammate!

The Czech part of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix concluded with a stage from Prerov to the demanding ascent to Kohutka. Despite racing on a short, 110-kilometer route, cyclists will long remember this stage due to its difficulty.

“It was a short but tough stage. There weren’t many climbs, but they were really demanding” – said Mathys Rondel from the French team, echoed by Belgian Emiel Verstrynge: “For sure it was a very short stage, only 110 kilometers. Distance is normally not a problem but with the 5 climbes it was definitely a hard one”.

Before the cyclists reached the top of Kohutka, they rode at a strong pace through other climbs planned by the organizers. Shortly after the start, a 7-man breakaway formed, consisting of Michał Pomorski (Poland), Kacper Gieryk (TC Chrobry SCOTT Głogów), Nils Aebersold (Switzerland), Sebastian Putz (Austria), Serhii Sydor (Ukraine), Ville Merlov, and Jonathan Ahlsson (Sweden).

This time, the peloton controlled the breakaway, which didn’t give up easily. “The breakaway was going strong, so the pace in the peloton was also high” – said Mathys Rondel after the stage.

The mountain prizes in the towns of Dusna and Hlavacky were won by Nils Aebersold and Michał Pomorski. Therefore, the leader of the mountain classification remained Pietro Mattio from Italy, who started today’s stage in the green jersey.

After a fierce chase, the breakaway was caught, and in the shrinking peloton, the pace was set by the British. One of them – Jack Brough – even decided to attack before the final climb but was caught.

On the climb to the ski resort in Kohutka surrounded by beautiful landscapes, we witnessed a demonstration by Mathys Rondel. The Frenchman first broke away with Matthew Brennan from Great Britain, and then he attacked solo, leaving no illusions to his rivals. The exhausted rider crossed the finish line with his head down, lacking the strength for a spectacular celebration, which showed the difficulty of the climb.

“For us, it was a good day because we are climbers, and we like such stages. The finale was perfect for us. I tried to attack fairly quickly, in the difficult part” – Rondel reported after the stage.

Second place was taken by another rider from the French team, Brieuc Rolland, who lost 10 seconds to the winner. The podium was completed by Emiel Verstrynge (Belgium), and the highest among the Poles to finish the stage was Filip Gruszczyński, taking 12th place (+32 s).

Mathys Rondel became the leader of the general classification of ORLEN after today’s stage, with Brieuc Rolland and Matthew Brennan occupying the next positions, trailing the Frenchman by 14 and 20 seconds, respectively. Filip Gruszczyński is 11th and trails by 42 seconds.

Three stages remain until the end of the race.