The sixth and penultimate stage of the 79th Tour de Pologne confirmed the expectations of fans. On the fast course linking Nowy Targ, Gronków and the ski resort of Rusiński, Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) clocked the best time of 17’40” after covering the 11.8 km at an average speed of 40.075 km/h. Magnus Sheffield (INEOS – Grenadiers) followed with 7″ and placed 2nd, while Ethan Hayter completed the podium 8″ behind.
“Today is a special day because it is my first victory as a professional which also coincided with a World Tour success. I had already been close to victory a few times this year, especially at the Giro d’Italia, and I finally did it today. It’s a special feeling.” confirmed the Team DSM rider. “The time trial was very nice, it was a matter of staying in an aerodynamic position as much as possible and pushing, as the road was climbing all the time. I think I interpreted the race well. The finish was hard but in the end my performance was good enough to win. Now I am also second in the overall ranking which is an added bonus for me. I have no regrets, I lost ground in the third stage, on the Przemysl climb but it is too steep for me anyway. I am a more long, steady climbs’ rider and on that stage I lost a bit too much to Ethan. It is what it is. My goal is still to try to improve myself as much as possible.”
While the Dutchman celebrated his first professional victory, Ethan Hayter, British national time trial champion, is the first Briton to wear the yellow jersey in the history of the Tour de Pologne. He now leads the general classification by 11″ ahead of today’s stage winner and 18″ ahead of Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious).
“The time trial was pretty much uphill from the start and in the finish you really had to push” says Ethan Hayter. “It was a good time trial. This morning we analysed the course and did the recon but I didn’t feel great, I’m not exactly a recon specialist. However, during the time trial I gave it my all and I am happy with my result which completes a great team effort. Tomorrow I have to stay out of trouble, I hope for a sprint and a relaxing day. I hope to stay on my bike. For sure some teams will try some moves and we will have to be ready as a team. I am surprised to be the first Briton as there have been so many good riders from my country before me. It is an additional source of pride.”
The race started at 1:54 pm with Patryk Stosz (POL) – confirmed leader of the LOTTO Most Active Rider classification – and ended with Sergio Higuita (BOH), who stood on the starting ramp at 4:20 pm and finished his stage in 38’27. The BORA – hansgrohe rider limited the damages but dropped to 8th place in the overall classification, 32″ behind the INEOS Grenadiers rider.
The 79th Tour de Pologne will end with a 175 km long stage 7, featuring an altitude gain of around 1971 mt. It will start from Valsir Skawina and, after the two climbs within the first 40km and a slightly uphill route, the sprinters and their teams will use the last 30km to prepare for a final sprint in the beautiful setting of Krakow.
“Tomorrow’s stage is suitable for sprinters, on paper” says Arnaud Demare, White Jersey leader, “but we will have to be careful in the first part of the race with some demanding KOMs. Yesterday in Rzeszow I finished second and I have a good feeling. It will once again be a sprint with many contenders.“