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Tour de Pologne 2015: Stage 4

Live coverage of stage 4 of the Tour de Pologne, 220 kilometres from Jaworzno to Nowy Sącz.

90km remaining from 220km

As we pick up the action after 130 kilometres of racing, a three-man break holds a lead of 7:05 over the main peloton. Kamil Zieliński (Poland), Gatis Smukulis (Katusha) and Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) broke clear in the opening kilometres and built up a maximum advantage of some 11:20 before the pace began to pick up in the bunch.

Zielinski has just led his fellow escapees over the top of the day's first categorised climb, the category 2 Gruszowiec. The first category ascents of Wysokie and Trzetrzewina follow before a flat, fast run-in to the finish in Nowy Sącz. The jury is out as to whether the sprinters will be able to regroup in time to fight out the win for the third succesive day.

Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) claimed victory in Katowice yesterday, his second in as many days, but stage 1 winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) remains in the overall lead. The general classification picture is as follows:

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 9:51:50
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:06
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:10
4 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
5 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:12
6 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
7 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:16
8 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
9 Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ.fr
10 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin

80km remaining from 220km

The whittling down process has already begun in the main peloton. 15 or so riders were distanced on the first climb of the day, where Carlos Verona (Etixx-QuickStep) led the bunch over the top.

76km remaining from 220km

That injection of urgency in the peloton has also seen Smukulis, Bodnar and Zielinski's lead pegged back to 5:25 in double quick time.

Ominous claps of thunder sound overhead. This could prove a more demanding finale to the stage than anyone anticipated, as the pace continues to ratchet upwards in the peloton.

Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) has called a halt to his Tour de Pologne and abandoned the race.

The European racing action isn't confined solely to Poland this week. Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) summoned up a fine sprint to win

a few minutes ago, while Astana took a dominant victory in the

. Luis Leon Sanchez, though Mikel Landa reportedly suffered a crash in the closing stages.

65km remaining from 220km

Back in Poland, Lampre-Merida and Team Sky lead the peloton as they approach the second of the day's trio of categoised climbs. The break's lead has nudged back out to the six-minute mark ahead of the ascent.

61km remaining from 220km

Zielinski leads Smukulis and Bodnar over the second climb of the day with a margin of 6:35 over the main peloton. 

Adrian Kurek (CCC-Sprandi) and Philip Deignan (Sky) lead the peloton at the top of the climb. Sky have been particularly active this afternoon.

Zielinski began the day just 16 seconds off the overall lead and has been the virtual yellow jersey all afternoon. The Polish national team rider, Smukulis and Bodnar still have 6:35 in hand with a shade over 50 kilometres to race. Their fate will depend in no small part on how well they defend their advantage on the day's final climb.

44km remaining from 220km

The three escapees have reached the foot of the day's final climb to Trzetrzewina. The peloton has reportedly split into two groups, the first of which trails our leaders by 4:30, the second of which is a further two minutes down, at 6:30.

Overall leader Marcel Kittel is struggling at the rear of the front end of the peloton on this climb but he might just about stay within touching distance over the top.

38km remaining from 220km

A struggling Kittel is paced by teammate Tom Stamsnijder towards the top of the climb. He has Niccolo' Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) for company in this small group too, and they face a grim chase to try to latch back on to the front of the peloton.

37km remaining from 220km

Cruelly, the climb kicks up stiffly once again before the summit, and that could prove Kittel's final undoing. Bodnar, Smukulis and Zielinski reach those final ramps with exactly five minutes in hand on the bunch, which appears to have split into three groups.

Kittel struggles visibly on those same final ramps. The front of the peloton is clocked at 3:40 down on the leaders. Kittel crests the summit within sight of a sizeable group, but he still has some ground to make up if he is to get back into contention for stage honours today.

32km remaining from 220km

Astana are prominent towards the head of the bunch on the rapid descent off the final climb. With Andrea Guardini in mind, they won't want to allow Marcel Kittel back on.

28km remaining from 220km

Lampre-Merida, too, are putting their shoulders to the wheel. Sacha Modolo is still in this group and his lead-out man Roberto Ferrari is also on hand. 3:24 is the gap to the three leaders.

Caleb Ewan is also in the front end of the peloton, and Orica-GreenEdge work accordingly. Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) also appears to be on board. For now at least, Kittel is the grand absentee, though his pursuit continues.

24km remaining from 220km

Zielinski, Bodnar and Smukulis cross the finish line in Nowy Sacz for the first time. They face three laps of the finishing circuit, which has been made slippery by the spitting afternoon rain.

The bunch reaches the finishing line for the first time just 2:30 down on the break, and they will fancy their chances of pegging the escapees back in time for a bunch finish. Kittel, meanwhile, is still around 30 seconds off the back of the bunch, with a platoon of Giant-Alpecin teammates trying to guide him back on.

17km remaining from 220km

Bodnar, Zielinski and Smukulis continue to collaborate smoothly at the head of the race but they will struggle to hold off a peloton that is being led determinedly by Orica-GreenEdge. Caleb Ewan began the day in third place overall, 10 seconds down on Kittel and four behind Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing). With Kittel now a minute off the back of the bunch, we are set for a new yellow jersey this evening.

The Kittel group appears to have knocked its efforts on the head for the afternoon. The German sticks out his tongue playfully when the television camera zooms in for a close-up. Considering the way his season began, this Tour de Pologne has already been a relative success for the German.

15km remaining from 220km

The Orica-GreenEdge-led peloton cross the finishing line for the second time with a deficit of 2:02 on the leading trio. They'll need to add a little urgency to their efforts or get some help from Lampre-Merida if they are to set up a bunch sprint over the final two laps.

11km remaining from 220km

The rain is beginning to fall a little more heavily on these final two laps of the finishing circuit. Bodnar puts in a long, long turn at the head of the break. Their lead is down to 1:37 - tumbling gently as opposed to collapsing. Orica-GreenEdge continue to lead the peloton.

9km remaining from 220km

The three leaders enter the final kilometre for the penultimate time. They have worked very smoothly together all afternoon and that unity remains intact, which is giving them a fighting chance of holding off the bunch.

7km remaining from 220km

Zielinski leads the trio through the finishing line as the rain begins to fall in sheets. Lampre-Merida are offering some token help to Orica-GreenEdge now and the gap stands at 1:09 as the bunch takes the bell.

6km remaining from 220km

In Kittel's absence, Luke Mezgec will lead the line for Giant-Alpecin in the event of a bunch sprint, though Smukulis and co remain resolutely committed to their effort out in front.

5km remaining from 220km

The cavalry has yet to materialise for Orica-GreenEdge, who continue to do the donkey work at the head of the bunch while Astana and Lampre-Merida linger with intent just behind.

Zielinski puts in a huge turn on the front of the break. The Pole can sense the yellow jersey. Inside the final five kilometres, he and his comrades have a shade under a minute in hand on the bunch.

4km remaining from 220km

The leading trio enter the final four kilometres with almost a minute in hand. Provided that they keep collaborating into the final kilometre, they have a real chance of staying clear.

3km remaining from 220km

Bodnar, Zielinski and Smukulis hold 45 seconds as they enter the final three kilometres. IAM Cycling take over at the head of the bunch in support of Matteo Pelucchi.

2km remaining from 220km

Still no signs of a fracture in the break, as Smukulis puts in another mammoth turn on the front and then Zielinksi comes through immediately when he swings over.

1km remaining from 220km

The gap drops to 35 seconds but the winner ought to come from this leading trio.

1km remaining from 220km

The break enters the final kilometre. Zielinski leads, desperate to ensure he takes the yellow jersey this evening. Bodnar and Smukulis lie in wait behind him.

Bodnar opens the sprint from distance...

Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) wins stage 4 of the Tour de Pologne.

Bodnar was an empahtic winner in the sprint. Kamil Zielinski (Poland) takes second ahead of a tired Gatis Smukulis (Katusha).

Caleb Ewan leads the peloton home, 19 seconds back. Matteo Pelucchi takes fifth on the stage.

We're waiting for official confirmation but Kamil Zieliński appears to have done enough to move into the overall lead.

Result:

1 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 5:14:29
2 Kamil Zielinski (Pol) Poland
3 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha
4 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:20
5 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin
6 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
7 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
8 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team
9 Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ.fr
10 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

General classification after stage 4:

1 Kamil Zielinski (Pol) Poland 15:06:27
2 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:03
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:22
4 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:24
5 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:28
6 Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:28
7 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:36
8 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:36
9 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:36
10 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha 0:01:14

General classification after stage 4:

1 Kamil Zielinski (Pol) Poland 15:06:27
2 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:03
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:22
4 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:24
5 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:28
6 Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:28
7 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:28
8 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:28
9 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
10 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:00:28

Thanks for joining our live coverage of the Tour de Pologne on Cyclingnews. We'll have all the news and reaction from our man in Poland, Patrick Fletcher, in due course, and a full report, results and pictures will follow here. We'll be back with more live coverage tomorrow, as the Tour de Pologne traverses some decidedly mountainous terrain on the road to Zakopane.

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