First climbing stage shakes things up in PolandTue 7 Aug 2018
The fourth stage of the Tour of Poland included the first climbs of the race and the short, but steep ascent to the finish brought out the GC contenders with Simon Yates a few seconds off the pace, but still among them.
Mitchelton-SCOTT rode a tactically good race, waiting until the final lap to show themselves after spending most of the stage keeping Yates protected and positioned within the peloton.
Team-Sky were heavily represented at the front when Roman Kreuziger set the pace onto the climb to the line with Yates in tow though as the gradient stiffened riders began to lose contact and splits started to show.
Three-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Yates, paced himself up the ramps and had just slipped back when Michal Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) launched his stage winning move with 150metres to go with the Briton crossing the line 14seconds down on the new race leader.
The opening half of stage four was made up of predominantly flat roads, eventually leading to the four categorised climbs ahead of the ramp up to the finish in Szczyrk, perfect opening terrain for a breakaway.
A trio of riders duly took the opportunity and after 35kilometres of racing had gained over five-minutes on the peloton. The three riders maintained their lead until the race hit the climbs when an increased chase from the peloton combined with the gradients to reduce the gap.
With 35kilometres to go there was only one rider left from the original trio being chased by a quartet of attackers, and the bunch only one minute behind. The leaders briefly came together until Team-Sky ramped it up on the last lap inside 15kilometres to go and brought the front of the race back together.
Sky tried to control the approach to the finish as riders started to move up around them with Yates looked after by Carlos Verona and Kreuziger.
Kreuziger led the bunch into the last kilometre for the steep climb up the finish and it was Movistar who attacked first, before a measured effort and well-timed attack from Kwiatkowski won the stage and moved the Pole into the leader’s jersey with Yates crossing the line in 17th place.
“Today was the first day in the hills in this Tour of Poland, and it was quite a stressful day, with a lot of fighting for position before the climbs and also difficult because of the heat.”
“The team worked pretty good together once again and we have helped as much as possible to try and get Simon into a good position going into the last kilometre for that last climb which was really steep.
“We lost a few seconds in the final, but there’s still a lot of hard racing to come and it isn’t anything that we can’t get back over the next three stages.”
Tour of Poland stage four results:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) 04:25:44
2. Dylan Teuns (BMC-Racing-Team) +0:03
3. George Bennet (Team-LottoNL-Jumbo) ST
17. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:14
General Classification after stage four:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) 13:51:22
2. Dylan Teuns (BMC-Racing-Team) +0:08
3. George Bennet (Team-LottoNL-Jumbo) +0:10
30. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:25
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.