Weening puts in a brave attack to kick start GC battleThu 7 Aug 2014
Reigning champion Pieter Weening has shown his title defence intentions with a late attack on stage five of the Tour of Poland.
The brave move with one kilometre left to ride was closed down in the final few hundred metres, Weening settling for 14th position on the same time as stage winner Rafa Majka (TSB).
The result, on what was the first mountain stage of the Tour, has moved Weening into 11th position overall, ten seconds behind overall leader Petr Vacok (OPQ).
“Pieter got caught but it could have gone either way,” sport director David McPartland said.
“He just bided his time and saw a chance with about a kilometre to go.
“He has had a good ride, put himself out there a bit to get a result but also tested the others.
“The biggest thing is that he hasn’t lost any time, he finished with the front guys and tomorrow is another big day. He is exactly where he needs to be.”
Earlier in the day, an initial breakaway of eight riders established themselves at the head of the race. As riders fatigued and returned to the peloton, a subsequent group bridged across to the remaining leaders, amongst them ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Christian Meier.
Meier proceeded in a solo attack on the penultimate climb approximately 30km from the finish and survived at the front of the race until just over 10km left to race.
“It was a matter of protecting the race if a large group went away and stayed, to have one of our climbers in that group,” McPartland said.
“We were pretty comfortable that it wasn’t going to last but coming into the finish it forced the other teams to respond and we still had Pieter there in the finish.”
The sixth and final road stage offers up the most challenging day of the 2014 Tour of Poland, a 174km journey with eight categorised climbs.
“It’s pretty simple. If he can take time, he will take time,” McPartland said.
“Otherwise he will be quiet. It finishes with a time trial on Saturday and the best man on the day will win the Tour if they finish together tomorrow.
“The stage looks super hard, there probably wont be many guys left in contention for the overall after tomorrow’s stage so it really is about keeping himself in contention and if he sees an opportunity to take time he will.”