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Tour de Pologne 2013: Stage 4

Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage four of the Tour of Poland. The 231.5km stage is from Tarnów to Katowice.

We join the stage inside the final 90km of racing. Fortunately for the riders, the weather has cooled with cloudy skies. 

The break of the day includes nine riders and formed early, with the peloton letting the move go clear before setting a controlling tempo behind.

Today's stage finishes with four 12.3km circuits of Katowice. A sprint finish is widely expected.
 

The riders in the breakaway are: Miguel Minguez Ayala (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto Belisol) Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ.fr) Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura), Fabio Duarte (Colombia), Jacek Morajko (CCC Polsat), Kamil Gradek (Poland), Pawel Franczek (Poland).

There is lead reached 4:40 mid-stage but is now down to 2:50.

The break is going through the feed zone and grabbing their musette bags.

Behind a mix of teams are leading the chase, including Garmin-Sharp, Saxo-Tinkoff and, Belkin and BMC.

57km remaining from 231km

There is 57km to go now, with the roads slightly wet after a rain shower.

The breakaway is about to begin the four finishing circuits. Each one is 12.3km long. Watch out for the inflatables guys!

On Tuesday Thor Hushovd (BMC) got his season back on track with an impressive sprint win.

Check out the full report and photo gallery from the stage here:

This is a great shot of Hushovd winning the sprint.

Here comes the peloton. The gap is down to 1:22 now.

The peloton has eased off the chase, perhaps worried about catching the break too soon.  

43km remaining from 231km

The eight breakaways are still working together but must know they are condemned to being caught after spending almost 200km in the breakaway.

The break has upped the pace as they pass through the finish. They have 3 laps of the 12.3km circuit to go.

However the gap is coming down as the peloton gradually ups the chase. The gap is 1:18.

The sky look threatening but the sun is also out. Will the riders get wet in the finale? 

30km remaining from 231km

Mark Renshaw (Belkin) was disappointed to finished second on Tuesday behind Hushovd. His teammates will no doubt be riding for him today. 

In the break the Polish riders are trying to stay away for as long as possible but the peloton has reduced the gap to a minute now.

Here they come. Two laps to go!

Kamil Gradek (Poland) is upping the pace trying to split the break.  

Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) has attacked over the top of the rise with one kilometre to go to the finish area.

20km remaining from 231km

A Polish rider has now got a gap but it looks unlikely he can stay away.

Kamil Gradek (Polish) is going for it up front but the pleoton is chading hard now. They are about to sweep up the rest of the break. 

15km remaining from 231km

The skies are jet black and threatening but the riders will  be hoping to avoid the rain.

The final kilometre ends with a rise and then its a fast dive to the finish. 

Gradek is still hanging off the front but the peloton can see him. The others have all been caught. 

12km remaining from 231km

Last lap! This is going to be a very fast finish.

Garmin-Sharp will be riding for Steele Van Hoff. BMC will looking to give Hushovd a second victory.

Belkin is on the front but it is perhaps a little early to take control of the sprint lead out.

Taylor Phinney (BMC) has taken a flyer and is off the front, chasing a stage victory. 

6km remaining from 231km

It's a long effort but he has the power and speed to ride alone in a late effort like this.

Phinney's move has surprised the sprniters' teams. He has 15 seconds now!  

Belkin is still chasing but the overall contenders are also up front defending their riders. That is slowing the chase.

3km remaining from 231km

Phinney still has 15 seconds. Can he do it?

The climb until 1km will be decisive.

Phinney is digging really deep.

Phinney is still out of sight. He can do this.

The gap is about 400m with Cannondale and Belkin leading the chase.

Orica-GreenEdge is also chasing.

1km remaining from 231km

Flamme rouge for Phinney.

This will be very close!

Phinney is driving to the line.

Phinney!

He gets it! The American went very deep but had the power and speed to hold off the sprinters.

He was able to keep going all the way to the line on the slight downhill and then sat up just before to he line to pose for the winner's photograph.

Phinney let out a roar as he crossed the line.

Wow. What a finale! 

Van Hoff finished second, with Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) third.

The downhill finish helped Phinney hold off the sprinters. It was a classy performance and confirmed the BMC rider's talent.

Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) remains as the overall race leader after the fast finish.

 

What a spectacular end to a the longest stage of this year's Tour of Poland. 

We'll have a full report, a photo gallery news very soon. 

Thanks for joining us for today's live coverage. We'll be back on Thursday for more action from the Tour of Poland.

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