Tour de Pologne (st. 3)
Mallorca native at end of selected group -only 50 riders- into uphill sprint, before Saturday’s mountain showdown in the Tatr hills.
/ Today’s route
Quite a more difficult profile than in the previous two stages, with 203km and a lumpy course with seven rated ascents before the final circuit. The finish in Bielsko-Biała, with gentle ascents to the finish quite close together, wasn’t going to make things easy for the sprinters.
/ Weather report
It was hotter than on Wednesday and Thursday, on roads closer to the mountains and less open than in the plains. 29ºC maximum, with moderate winds from the East.
/ Keys to the race
- Despite the breakaway forming early and with a look similar to the last few days -only four riders: Jauregui (ALM), Gradek (CCC), Van der Hoorn (TJV) and Stosz (POL)-, the stage was meant to be harder as some of the GC contenders wanted to offer some battle from afar. A move from Fuglsang (AST), De Gendt (LTS) or Bodnar (BOH) into the second climb of the day, Kocierz, just over 50km after the start, forced several teams to push hard to bring them back and keep the race under control.
- Van der Hoorn was the last man standing, caught with less than 30km to go as the peloton entered the Bielsko-Biała circuit. Nathan Haas (COF) took the baton ahead of a field selected to just 70 riders into the hills, which progressively grew as the pace calmed before the final charge (1’05” for Haas with 20km left). Lluís Mas, Imanol Erviti, Jorge Arcas and Albert Torres were part of that group.
- From those four, Mas was the man reaching further, just few seconds behind the leaders of an echelon reduced to fifty riders for the sprint. Carapaz (INS) took the day’s win and the race lead with a signature attack which Ulissi (UAD) was close to bring back over the line. Molard (GFC) came in third.
/ Upcoming goals
The overall classification of the Tour de Pologne should again be decided this year at the Tatr Mountains with Saturday’s stage four around Bukowina. 152km, six categorized ascents, lots of small hills, slopes over 20% – a brutal journey between mid-mountain terrain and the spring classics, which always makes for entertaining racing.
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto