Santaromita top finisher on stage five in Poland

Thu 6 Aug 2015

Whilst no ‘mountain stage’, today's stage five of the Tour de Pologne was far from a walk in the park as the second consecutive 200km+ day of racing and featuring a number of pinching climbs.

It proved costly for some, who now look to be out of the general classification race having missed crucial splits in the second half of racing.

After an early break was closed down, the first critical split in the peloton occurred with 40km to go. Former Italian champion Ivan Santaromita and Giro d’Italia pink jersey wearer Simon Clarke represented ORICA-GreenEDGE in that move.

A series of attacks in the last 20km saw the pair lose contact, Santaromita riding on to finish as the team’s top performer in 19th position. Meanwhile ahead, Bart de Clercq (Lotto-Soudal) timed his solo move inside the last five kilometres to claim the stage and move into the race lead.

“We came here to target the first four stages and the guys certainly haven’t been twiddling their thumbs,” sport director Matt Wilson said. “They have worked extremely hard and that was always going to take its toll.”

“We have Santaromita here to have a go for these two days but he just couldn’t quite stay with the leaders over the second last climb there.

“It actually broke up more than we probably anticipated today, it was an a lot harder than I thought it would be.”

How it unfolded:

After yesterday produced it’s first successful breakaway of the 2015 Tour de Pologne, today’s move was hot property.

Following a series of unsuccessful moves, including a large move of 20, six riders were eventually granted freedom. Team Lotto-Soudal dominated the move with three of the six inclusions.

At their best, the group was allowed around six minutes advantage to the peloton after a little over 50km of racing. But unlike yesterday, the peloton was attentive and they controlled it from that point forward.

With over 100km of the huge 223km day remaining, the lead group reduced to four riders. Lotto-Soudal still represented half of the move with two of their riders persisting in front.

By 55km to go the initial move was shut down and the peloton split under the new pressure. 40odd riders formed the new front group and Astana pushed the pace at its head.

A solo attack with around 20km to go proved unsuccessful but shelled half the group on the penultimate climb. The theme continued, and the counterattacks were persistent, until DeClerq’s winning solo move with four kilometres to go.