Peter Sagan's dream of a second Tour de Pologne overall win took a hit on stage 6 but his Bora-Hansgrohe team remain well placed to claim the yellow jersey with Rafa Majka. It will be all to play for in the seventh and final stage of the race over 132km from Bukovina Resort to Bukowina Tatrzańska.
Sagan took the first yellow jersey of the race after his stage 1 win. he lost the lead the next day but was quickly back in yellow after stage 3 and extended his lead in the spring finishes. However, stage 6 proved a bridge too far for the 2011 champion as he plummeted from 1st to 39th and now sits 14:45 minutes down on race leader Dylan Teuns (BMC).
It was a different story for 2014 champion Majka though as the Polish rider moved into second place and six seconds off the overall lead. Majka's cause will be helped by a fully committed Sagan who is backing in his teammate for the win.
"It was a tough stage, not really one that suits riders like myself. Rafał tried hard and gave his best," said Sagan, who leads the points classification. "He is second in the GC with only six seconds distance from the first place. Tomorrow, we need to ride the best way we can to help Rafalł win the Tour de Pologne."
Majka was a dual stage winner in 2014 with the bonus seconds helping him seal an eight-second win. The 27-year-old explained that bonus seconds will again be important in 2017 and won't leave anything out on the road in his bid for the win.
"It was yet another hard day and BMC pushed hard to make the split in the last 30km. I felt good again and tried to attack on the last climb, as I needed to close the gaps, which wasn't easy," Majka said. "However, when Teuns was dropped, not everybody wanted to collaborate in the group, so he was able to close on us again. I am now sitting second overall, trailing Teuns by just six seconds. Tomorrow, we have the final stage of the race and it will be wide open because of the bonus seconds. It will be very hard, with everybody trying to win. Today it was more a question of tactics, tomorrow will be fast, with many attacks. We will work hard and do our best to regain the yellow jersey.
Bora-Hansgrohe's sports director Christian Pömer added that having split team resources between Majka and Sagan for the first six stages, it will be all for Majka on stage 7.
"After controlling the entire Tour de Pologne for both Peter and Rafa, tomorrow we can completely focus on Rafa and support him to ride aggressively and help him win his home race," Pömer said.
While Majka is likely to be aggressive to chase the win, the top-ten is separated by just 29 seconds which could see a major reshuffle by day's end. Cyclingnews will have live coverage of stage 7 to ensure you can follow all the action as it happens.
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1