Teuns fends off Sagan in Tour de Pologne for first WorldTour win

A week is a lifetime in politics, as the saying goes, and for professional cyclist Dylan Teuns, seven days is all it has taken to see a massive upturn in his career, with four victories in that period crowned with a win on Monday in the Tour de Pologne.

A third year professional with the BMC Racing Team, Teuns' first win of his career arrived last week on home soil, in the Ardennes town of Houffalize in Belgium's Tour de Wallonie. Already in the lead of the race, that victory in some of Belgium's hilliest territory was followed by both a repeat stage win two days later, as well as the top spot in the overall classification.

Much more was to come in the Tour de Pologne's stage 3 summit finish above the hill town of Szczyrk on Monday, at the top of a wooded, narrow and steep 1.5-kilometre ascent. A lanky climber, Teuns powered out of the shattered peloton behind Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) to claim his fourth victory in a week, his first in the WorldTour and a valuable second place, too, on the overall classification. He also had the strength to fend off a challenger as formidable as an in-form Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), something few riders are capable of doing.

"This has been an amazing week already, four wins in seven days," Teuns said before reeling off the list of his victories to a huddled mass of Polish reporters.

After Wallonie, the BMC Racing Team had gambled on Teuns making an impact on the final climb on this stage, with teammate Rohan Dennis doing a lot of hard work to bring back late attacker Jack Haig (Orica-Scott). But when Yates made his move on the final ascent, it had to be an out-and-out climber like Teuns – third in Fleche Wallonne this spring, on a far steeper final ascent – who shot after the Briton

"We didn't take responsibility early on, but the team worked really hard in the final part to get the victory, that was the plan," Teuns recounted. "They did a really good job to bring me in the perfect position."

"There were some attacks from other teams, strong teams, but my teammates controlled them perfectly and in the end, I could finish off their hard work. That was an amazing feeling."

Teuns' stand out result at the WorldTour level before Monday was his third place in Flèche Wallonne on the Mur de Huy this spring, and although he admitted that Szczyrk was an easier ascent, it was nevertheless, like the Mur, one that played to his strengths.

"Flèche Wallone was a little bit similar, but it's even harder. I knew when there was a steep part in the final, though, my chances would be greater than a stage ending on a descent, say."

Apart from being in strong form and on terrain that suited him, Teuns said the other key to success was following the move himself when Adam Yates went up the road.

"If one of the Yates brothers goes, it doesn't matter which, Simon or Adam, they are the same type of rider as me, so I knew I had to follow. Because if you give him 10 seconds, it's 10 seconds too much. I was almost immediately on his wheel."

Following his latest victory, Teuns is in a strong position overall, and given the strength of the opposition, with figures of the calibre of Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) in first and third place overall, battling for the overall will likely be a tough challenge for the young Belgian climber. But after his triumph on Monday and the three victories preceding it, regardless of what happens, there's no doubt Teuns summer can already be defined as a massive success.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.