Grmay fights to fourth on the final stage of the Tour of Poland

Fri 9 Aug 2019

Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay went down fighting at the Tour of Poland after an attacking display was rewarded with fourth place on the final stage.

The 27-year-old attacked across to the breakaway early in the stage, before being caught and then attacking again late in the day, eventually coming home 1’19” down on the solo winner.

In The Move

A group of 10-riders formed the breakaway on the downhill run out of the Bukovina Resort and unlike the previous stage, the peloton looked content to see the move go away early. Mitchelton-SCOTT missed the initial move, but Grmay set off in pursuit of the escapees over the first of the categorised climbs.

The Ethiopian time trial champion managed to bridge across and the group set about extending their lead to a maximum of over three minutes. With nobody in the break an immediate danger to the general classification, the bunch were content to see the escapees carry on ahead.

However, the gap began to fall with 60-kilometres remaining as the race approached the penultimate classified climb of the day. The slopes saw the breakaway blown apart, while attacks began to roll back in the peloton and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Merida) made his move out front.

Going Down Fighting

A group of 40-riders then mopped up the remains of the breakaway, with Gramy able to hang on alongside his teammates Mikel Nieve and Damien Howson. As the bunch passed through the finish line to start the final lap, the lone leader Mohoric had seen his advantage drop to 45-seconds, but there was no concerted chase coming from behind.

The gap eventually began to fall as Mohoric hit the final classified climb of the race with a small group of four, including Grmay, jumping clear of the group of favourites. The quartet set about chasing down the solo leader, but as the cooperation stalled, the gap grew out again.

The victory looked secured inside six-kilometres to go with Mohoric boasting a handy advantage on the Grmay group, while nobody could break clear of the group of favourites. After an attacking day out, the final ramp to the line took its toll on Grmay as he came home in fourth place behind Mohoric who held on for the win.

Tsgabu Grmay:
“Again, it was a really hard stage and at the beginning the plan for the team was to either get someone in the break, because you never if it could stay away, or to be in the final move. I was looking towards ‘plan A’, to try and get in the break and to try and win the stage."

“The last few days I’ve been feeling good on the climbs, so I was really looking to try and make something happen. We got a gap of three-minutes and I was hoping we could stay away somehow, but the group was coming really fast so I didn’t do anything in the break and tried to save myself.”

“I didn’t give up when the group caught us, I was really hoping that I could go again or maybe stay with the group as much as I could. After the steep climb the group slowed and I tried to attack again because I was feeling good and I’m so happy with the sensations I have, my hard work has paid off at this race.”

Gene Bates (Sports Director):
“We kept it pretty open today, we weren’t sure how the guys were going to pull up after such a hard stage yesterday, so we came in with an open plan. We wanted to get someone in the break, which we did and then we based our plan around that.”

“Tsgabu had great legs and saw a good opportunity during the stage to get away a couple of times and when you’ve got good legs and pick the right moment you come away with a result.”

“There was certainly a downer put on the tour after what happened to Bjorg Lambrecht, but in terms of our team’s perspective I think it was a really successful week. We came in here hunting a stage and to get good racing intensity back into a few guys who have been training for the back end of the season. We got two stage wins with Luka (Mezgec) and some other good performances like Tsgabu today, so we can walk away really happy and looking forward to our next goals.”

Tour of Poland Stage 7 Results:
1. Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Merida) 4:04:42
2. Neilson Powless (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:55
3. Gianluca Brambilla (Trek - Segafredo) +1:07
4. Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:19

Tour of Poland General Classification:

1. Pavel Sivakov (Team INEOS) 26:20:58
2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +0:02
3. Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) +0:12
16. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:17

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.