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Tour de Pologne 2017: Stage 6

Good afternoon one and all. It was another late start for the riders today, which means a late finish too. The riders are just over 60 kilometres into a 189km stage and they are approaching the toughest part of today's stage as the climbs come thick and fast in the second half of the route. 

Three riders are out front at the moment with a gap of 3:55 over the chasing peloton. The riders are Moreno Moser, Antwan Tolheok and Adam Stchowiak. 

 

Danny van Poppel got the stage win yesterday after missing out earlier in the week. Meanwhile, Peter Sagan avoided the crash at the finish, which delayed a lot of the general classification riders. While they were ultimately awarded the same finish time, Sagan was free to mop up the bonus seconds for third and extend his overall lead. 

 

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 18:41:27
2 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:14
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:20
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:24
5 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJ 0:00:31
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:32
7 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:33
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:39
10 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team

 

115km remaining from 189km

The gap has grown drastically in the last few kilometres. The trio has 4:45 now with 115km remaining. 

 

With the gap as it stands, Antwan Tolhoek is the virtual race leader. He started the day at 4:08 behind Peter Sagan. 

 

It has been a busy day of racing today, but also a busy day in the transfer market. Mikel Nieve's move to Orica-Scott was made official, Omar Fraile will move to Astana while Alberto Bettiol has been snapped up by BMC. Jaime Roson will also go to Movistar for next season. Keep up to date with all the transfers here

 

More than five minutes now for the three escapees. 

 

Moser and Tolhoek must be getting to know each other very well. The pair was in the breakaway together yesterday. Stachowiak has also been in the breakaway during this year's Tour de Pologne. The Polish rider was out front on stage 3.

 

A strange, and scary, moment for the bunch as a pony runs along the road with them. Everybody has got through unscathed fortunately. 

 

After two hours of racing, the leaders have averaged 39kph. They have also extended that advantage to 5:30. 

 

Moreno Moser has been breakaway hunting through this year's Tour de Pologne, but he is actually a former winner of the race. The Italian beat home rider Michal Kwiatkowski to the title in 2012. The 2012 and 2013 seasons were some of the best in Moser's career and he's not quite been the same since then. 

 

The 23-year-old Tolhoek is riding his second year as a professional and his first at WorldTour level. He is a strong climber and won the mountains classification at the Tour de Suisse last year. 

 

It's very relaxed out front at the moment and Moreno Moser takes the time to wave at some fans on the side of the road. 

 

Mikel Landa extends Vuelta a Burgos lead with summit victory at Picon Blanco https://t.co/TdBPUlbmvu https://t.co/gygLi8MiOl

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 3rd Aug 2017 14:44:55

At 28, Stachowiak is the oldest member of this three-man breakaway. He rode at Pro Continental level last season with Verva ActiveJet, but is currently with the Continental  Voster Uniwheels Team. He won the mountains classification at the Tour of Malopolska earlier this year and finished 15th in the road race at the national championships in June. 

 

95km remaining from 189km

There is still a long way to go on this stage but the breakaway is ebbing out their lead. 5:40 is the latest time check for the trio. 

 

Bora-Hansgrohe is doing the bulk of the work back in the peloton. As well as Sagan in the leader's jersey, they've got Rafal Majka sitting in third place at 20 seconds. 

 

The UCI elections are in a couple of months, with incumbent Brian Cookson going up against European Federation president David Lappartient. Cookson held a press event a few weeks ago, where he told the media that he was confident he could beat Lappartient, even if the election was held tomorrow. Read the full story here

 

78km remaining from 189km

The gap is closing now as the peloton decides that the escapees has had enough of a leesh. With 78 kilometres remaining, they have 4:20. 

 

The temperatures are still pretty high at 35 degrees, but it is much easier than it has been in recent days. 

 

The leaders are into the much hillier part of today's course. From here, there is almost no flat. It's either up or down. It finishes on an uphill slope, that drags for around 2.5 kilometres with the toughest part coming at 1.5 to go. It's a hard climb, but not too hard. Peter Sagan won into Zakopane in 2011 and he'll want to do it again this year. 

 

Meanwhile, that advantage continues to tumble for the three out front. Moser, Tolhoek and Stachowiak have just three minutes. Bahrain-Merida have taken up the pace setting in the peloton. 

 

The riders are approaching Zakopane for the first time as the three leaders begin the final ascent before the line. They will then head out and complete a large loop, with several more climbs, before returning to Zakopane for the finish. 

 

While all this is going on, AG2R La Mondiale has announced that Romain Bardet will ride the Vuelta a Espana for the first time. We'll have more news on that later. 

 

As the leaders pass through the finish, the gap is just two minutes. It doesn't seem like it will be very long before these escapees will be brought back by the bunch. 

 

Stachowiak takes the intermediate sprint as the advantage plummets to 1:30. 

 

The European Championships are also on at the moment, with most of the time trials taking place today. Ellen van Dijk won the elite women's competition while Victor Campenaerts won the men's. You can get all the results from all the events here

 

The pony nearly loses it in the turn, illustrating why tyres are grippier than horseshoes. https://t.co/SonFWerRX5

@VelonCC Thu, 3rd Aug 2017 15:47:54

58km remaining from 189km

We're quickly approaching the crunch part of this stage and the breakaway has just a minute on the peloton. 

 

The three up front are doing their best to hold off the peloton, but it is only delaying the inevitable at this point. Just 48 seconds now as Bora-Hansgrohe keep the pace high. 

 

Michal Kwiatkowski is at the finish line today. He's enjoying a break after riding the Tour de France and winning San Sebastian last weekend. He is expected to make an announcement following the stage today. 

 

Tolhoek has gone on the attack with just under 50km to go. He has 30 seconds on the chasing group.

 

Tolhoek's break companions have been caught and dropped by the peloton. There is no let up and we've had a number of attacks coming off the front. 

 

| @MarkCavendish: Exclusive interview - Podcast | https://t.co/PnUO4Q8FNL https://t.co/6t5bkTQgBW

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 3rd Aug 2017 15:47:33

Orica-Scott's Robert Power has set off in chase of Tolhoek and he's just 13 seconds back as they pass over the third to last climb. The peloton is a further 16 seconds behind, with Peter Sagan still safely up there. 

 

Power has made good use of that descent to join forces with Tolhoek. There's just over 20 seconds between these two and the chasing group behind. One of the CCC Sprandi riders is now trying to get across the gap. 

 

41km remaining from 189km

The CCC Sprandi rider in between the two groups is Jan Tranik. He's 12 seconds back while the peloton is 25. It's all very close together. 

 

Just nine seconds the gap between Tratnik and the two up front. However, it's likely that it will be for nothing with the peloton only about 15 seconds behind him. 

 

The efforts of the day are beginning to show and Tolhoek is dropped as Power attacks. Tratnik has passed Tolheok and is trying to catch power now. 

 

BMC Racing has taken up the chase behind with Rohan Dennis on the front. Race leader Peter Sagan is still in this group for Bora-Hansgrohe. 

 

Robert Power is doing a very good job out front. He is on one of the toughest bits of the climb but he puts a bit of time into the peloton. Tratnik's exploits are over and he is brought back by the group. 

 

Danny van Poppel is struggling on this climb, as is king of the mountains leader Maxime Monfort. That was a brutal ascent and it's not even categorised. 

 

With 35 kilometres to go, I'm going to leave you in the very capable hands of Laura Weislo. 

 

33km remaining from 189km

Power's lead is down to 19 seconds as he crests one of the many unclassified climbs. This part of Poland is simply beautiful - there are higher, sharply pointed mountains in the distance and rolling farm-covered hills where the riders are. It looks a bit like Tuscany in the low light of evening.

The roads are quite rough and covered in patches, but the peloton traverse bounce across the obstacles safely, strung out single file behind BMC.

 

A Polish national team rider is attacking out to meet Power as he's just about to be caught with 31km to go.

Power comes about to a standstill on this very steep pitch.

That was a brutal little climb, and the Polish rider was really just getting some TV time there. Bob Jungels, who started the day with the breakaway but wisely dropped back, leads the bunch.

29km remaining from 189km

This quick succession of steep climbs is taking its toll even on the climbers - Jesus Hernandez looks back to see the maillot jaune Peter Sagan going out the back.

Cannondale's Davide Villella is also shot out the back with Sagan.

The peloton is simply disintegrating on the hills with 28km left to race. They're speeding down a descent that will lead them to the next climb, the Bystryk, which crests at 19km to go.

Tejay van Garderen comes to the front to set the pace ahead of Jungels. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is wisely positioned in third wheel, ready for that climb.

If BMC are working this hard, then Teuns is most certainly still in the bunch. There aren't many Bora-Hansgrohe riders in the reduced peloton, but surely Majka is in there, too.

There are only about 30 riders left in the front group, with a larger group scattered just behind the team cars.

FDJ have a number of riders, as do AG2R La Mondiale, Sky and Orica. There's one Cannondale rider (easy to spot in green), an Astana rider and a gaggle of Sunwebs. Maybe a Movistar rider or two. More are joining all the time.

24km remaining from 189km

Jungels and Van Garderen lead into the climb as Peter Sagan has found a nice group of companions - he's with a dozen riders including teammate Patrick Konrad.

23km remaining from 189km

Majka is in the front group. This climb is so steep that Petr Vakoc almost goes off the tarmac with the effort.

Sagan, behind, is paperboy-ing up the climb - it looks like he's stuck in the big ring but he's not. Just not enough gears!

These are nasty, nasty climbs. The difference between Sagan's very labored style and the smooth pace-setting of Van Garderen could not be more stark.

22km remaining from 189km

Van Garderen leads the bunch under an inexplicable inflatable - it's not the top of the climb, but 3km to go before it. It's very grand, a bright yellow arch preceded by several balloons.

Van Garderen has split the peloton in two, with Majka, Pozzovivo, Jungels and Jack Haig (Orica) just ahead of his teammate Teuns in a group of less than 20.

Nibali is still in there, too. Meanwhile, Sagan is only now just getting to that 3km to the KOM arch, cheered on my some intrepid fans.

Three minutes back to the Sagan group as van Garderen continues to shred this bunch to bits. There are maybe 15 riders in here.

 

Now Samuel Sanchez takes a pull and is followed by Pozzovivo with a small gap.

Haig counters.

20km remaining from 189km

Haig leads, followed by Sanchez and Pozzovivo.

And we cut back to Sagan who's getting a coke.

11 riders are chasing the trio, with Adam Yates among them. His teammate Haig attacks for the KOM and Sanchez fades back.

Pozzovivo is second across the line but caught under the inflatable. Haig continues to motor along with 19k to go.

Haig has opened up a solid gap, and he's being chased by one rider with 18.2km to go - they've got another ridiculous climb ahead that will kick up to 19%. Now, Haig is enjoying the descent while he can.

There's no sign of that chasing rider yet, perhaps he's been reeled in because there are 13 chasers. They can see Haig about 300m ahead.

The clock says 24 seconds, we aren't sure that's right. Ilnur Zakarin is sat at the back of the single-file chasing group.

15km remaining from 189km

Haig passes under the 15km to go banner, now having to power along the flat, open road. It is indeed almost a half-minute gap.

The leading group includes Tejay van Garderen, Dylan Teuns, Samuel Sanchez (BMC), Rafal Majka (Bora), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Adam Yates (Orica), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Bob Jungels (Quick-Step), Rui Costa (UAE), plus Wout Poels (Sky), Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R). Sam Oomen is also in there for Sunweb.

12km remaining from 189km

Jungels is dangling at the back a bit, but he's survived the steepest part of this climb. Still 35 seconds to Haig with 12+km to go.

Haig's steady effort has gotten him a 40 second lead now with 11 km to go. He was 1:58 down overnight, so he's not a big threat for Teuns' virtual lead.

10km remaining from 189km

Haig's made it to 10km to go with a 49 second gap. That's a stellar effort from the Australian. There's no panick yet behind, as BMC are down to just Teuns.

Costa attacks.

Teuns is forced to chase Costa down himself as Jungels fights to get back on terms.

Nibali counters!

This is a good one from Nibali, and more successful than the one from Costa. It's put Teuns in trouble.

Majka goes to the front to bring Nibali back, and presses on knowing that Teuns is hurting.

The motorcycles are being pulled from the gap as there's a counter from Poels.

Haig has reached the KOM with 9km to go, they're still saying 49 seconds, but it's less than that. Only five chasers now: Zakarin, Kelderman, Majka, Poels and Yates.

Poels leads the chase group over the top, bringing the gap down to 35 seconds to Haig. Majka is looking to take over the race lead as Teuns is further back.

6km remaining from 189km

Haig is continuing to press on into Zakopane as Kelderman's wicked pace opens a gap in the chasing group.

Majka had to shut that down, now Poels comes forward with a more steady effort.

They look at Yates, who isn't doing a lick of work, and rightly so, with a teammate up the road. Majka and Zakarin are forced to take up the chase.

4km remaining from 189km

Jungels, who'd been swinging for 30km, has fought back yet again! He's made the group six now, and a few more passengers arrive with Teuns among them.

3km remaining from 189km

Haig time trials into town, holding 30 seconds with 3.5km to go as Oomen leads the chasing group with Yates in attendance, slowing things slightly after the Sunweb rider pulls off.

2km remaining from 189km

The constant disruptions from Yates have helped Haig immensely - 45 seconds is his gap with 2.5k to go.

This is a win for sure for Haig. He's inside the barriered section where the fans are three-deep on the road side.

Teuns is attentive now - he's not letting any more gaps open up. There are time bonuses on the line, and he's going to need to keep Majka from getting them.

Teuns is leading the chasers, followed closely by Majka as Haig enters the final kilometer.

Haig has never won a race as a pro, and he's going to make his first a good one - a WorldTour victory for the young Aussie. It's almost certain now.

This finishing straight seems to go on forever, but now he sees the banner and zips up to savor the moment.

Haig gets a great victory. Behind, Teuns is leading, perhaps unwisely.

Poels starts the sprint, followed by Jungels.

Poels thinks he's won it and punches the air, but he's second, over Jungels.

Teuns' strategy might have been a good one, because the sprint started from behind, and Majka, stuck to his wheel, was pushed backwards when Teuns faded. Neither got a time bonus.

Here is the top 10 on the stage:

1 Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott 4:58:55
2 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:51
3 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
4 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb

Thanks to Sagan's dropping anchor, Teuns now leads the race by six seconds over Majka, with Kelderman in third at 10 seconds. Poels moved into fourth at 13s.

Here's what the top 10 in the GC looks like now:

General classification after stage 6
1 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 23:41:27
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:06
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:10
4 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:13
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:18
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:19
7 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:24
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:25
9 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:28
10 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:29

Haig will wear the mountains classification jersey thanks to his efforts on today's climb. Meanwhile, Sagan finally made it to the finish almost 17 minutes behind the stage winner.

Apologies to Sagan, it was 15:52 behind Haig.

Sagan can be consoled in the fact that he will wear the white jersey as points classification leader tomorrow.

Speaking of Sagan, we've got a good interview with Mark Cavendish that touches on his clash with Sagan in the Tour de France in our latest podcast. You can find it here.

Haig is presented with a large sword-shaped trophy for his win, but he flubs the champagne opening and sprays not only Poels but also Jungels and the podium hostesses. Whoops.

Brian Cookson is on hand in Poland for the podium ceremony. You can read what he has to say about his chances to be re-elected as UCI president in our interview here.

The stage in Poland today looked truly brutal - but there's something to be said for a quick succession of short climbs rather than a long, steady big ascent. The racing was pretty exciting!

We were glad to see the rain stay away for that tricky finish, however. Yesterday the wet roads took out Max Schachmann (Quick-Step). He slid out in a corner and got back to riding, but crashed a second time outside the view of the TV cameras and broke his foot.

That's it for Cyclingnews' live coverage of today's Tour de Pologne stage. Tomorrow is the race's exciting conclusion, and it's sure to be absolute, pure, unadulterated mayhem on a 132.5km stage with seven climbs. Join us then!

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