Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) prevailed in the final sprint to win the fourth and longest stage in the 2017 edition of the Tour de Pologne UCI – World Tour, from Zawiercie to Zabrze over 238 km, beating Holland’s Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) and current World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who maintains the yellow Carrefour jersey as leader of the general classification. Boy Van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo) was fourth, and fifth place went to the man who won in Katowice, Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates). With a 4” bonus at the finish line, Sagan has built an advantage in the general of 10” over Dylan Teuns (BMC) and 16” over his Polish team mate Rafal Majka.
The longest stage in this edition was no less than 238 km long, with throngs of fans along the route and broiling temperatures constantly hovering around 35 degrees Celsius.
“I’m happy for this win; this is the third time I’ve participated in the Tour de Pologne and I’ve finally claimed this victory that I’ve been trying so hard for and come so close to on several occasions. I thank the team for the great job they did all day, first to catch up to the fugitives and then to set me up into the best position to launch a great sprint. It was really very hot and the stage was very long but in the end for me it was a perfect day,” says Caleb Ewan, the Australian from Tasmania born in 1994, who just turned 23 years old is enjoying his seventh win of the season so far, including a stage in the Giro d’Italia.
I’m happy I made it through today’s stage on a good note; there weren’t any climbs but it was hard because it was very long and very hot. Today we held on to the yellow jersey and this is what counts. Now we’ll forge ahead and look forward to the next stage; tomorrow is another day and we’ll see what happens,” says Peter Sagan.
A break by six riders fired up the race: Frenchman Remi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors), Holland’s Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL – Jumbo), Latvian Tom Skujins (Cannondale), South African Nick Dougall (Dimension Data), Slovenian Jan Tratnik (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Poland’s own Pawel Bernas (Polish Team). They took off almost immediately after the start to reach a maximum advantage of about 7 minutes. There was thunderous applause for the fugitives, who made it to the start of the final circuit in Zabrze (6.2 km to repeat three times) with a one minute advantage over the group. They spent more than 200 km being chased by the pack, who were being pulled along by the men riding with the yellow jersey on Bora-Hansgrohe and the other sprinting squadrons, particularly Caleb Ewan’s Orica-Scott, Sacha Modolo’s UAE Team Emirates and Danny Van Poppel’s Team Sky. During the first lap, Cavagna pressed ahead of his breakout companions to attempt a solo move and show off his great skills as a strong pacer. But the group wouldn’t let him go, catching up to him in the last lap with 5 km to go to the arrival. The race ended in a crowded sprint with Caleb Ewan beating Danny Van Poppel and Peter Sagan.
In the other rankings Peter Sagan is also keeping the white Hyundai jersey for the points classification and Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi polkowice) still has the cyclamen Tauron jersey for the GPM. The blue Lotto jersey for the most active rider in the group has now passed to the shoulders of Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), who was in a break again today for many kilometres. Rafal Majka leads the Lotos classification for the best Polish rider. Team Bora-Hansgrohe remains in the lead for the team classification.
Today was also an important day in Polish history. With the national flag waving and the notes of the Polish national anthem playing, the Tour de Pologne came to a halt at 5:00 p.m. for a minute to remember the “Warsaw Uprising”, which was an insurrection attempt by the Polish National Army that started at 5:00 p.m. on August 1st, and lasted until October 2nd, 1944. The army and many Polish youth fought and perished against the occupying German troops in an attempt to liberate Warsaw before the arrival of the Soviet army, which was at the gates of the Polish capital after major victories in the summer offensive on the Eastern front.