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Tour de Pologne 2019: Stage 5

Hello and welcome today's live coverage of stage 5. 

After a day of mourning yesterday, to remember Bjorg Lambrecht, the racing returns today with stage 5 from Bielsko to Biała. 

 

As the stage profile shows, the riders face a rolling stage profile with four climbs on a circuit in the finale. 

 

The riders have just rolled out of Wieliczka for the ride south to Bielsko-Biała.

 

This is the moment the riders rolled out.

 

 

The mood was subdued after the emotions and grief of the last two days. However all the Lotto Soudal riders decided to ride on.

 

The peloton started from the Wieliczka salt mine and now head west.

On the way, they cover the cat 2 Rychwałd and Hucisko climbs and one first category climb at the Przełęcz Przegibek.

 

 

 

There will also be two intermediate sprints in Międzybrodzie Bialski and Bielsko-Biała.

Before the finish, the riders will perform three more laps in Bielsko-Biała, each 7.2km long.

 

An early attack from Rutkiewicz closed down by the bunch. 

 

The Tour de Pologne organisers neutralised stage 4 following the death of 22-year-old Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal), who crashed during stage 3 and died later that afternoon in hospital.

 

The planned 173km stage from Jaworzno to Kocierz was shortened to 133.7km, and the finishing circuits were cut to one. Organisers replaced the planned final ultra-steep ascent with a straightforward uphill climb to a hilltop hotel and spa near the finish.

 

An overhead arch, made entirely of black and bearing Lambrecht's name and his Pologne race number, 143, was erected at the top of a long wooded climb deep in the countryside of southern Poland.

 

Ahead of the peloton, the six Lotto Soudal riders rode to within 50 metres of the finish, then dismounted and stood, arms round each other in a long line across the narrow hill road for another minute's silence.

 

Then, to scattered applause from the dozens of fans waiting at the summit, the six remounted and headed through the finish area to the privacy of the Lotto Soudal team bus, situated a few metres further on at the top of the climb.

 

"This homage was something we had to do today," race organiser Czeslaw Lang told reporters afterwards. "The public came here, too, to pay their respects."

 

Alasdair Fotheringham is at the Tour de Pologne for Cyclingnews and sent this story on the day of mourning for Bjorg Lambrecht. 

Click here to read Alasdair's story. 

 

 

 

After some initial attacks and chasing, we seem to have the break of the day.

 

Kamil Gradek (CCC Team) and Szymon Rekita (Poland) attacked first after 13km and have been joined by Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk). 

 

They lead the peloton by a minute.

 

131km remaining from 154km

The peloton seems happy to let the break go clear for now. 

 

130km remaining from 154km

Germany's Pascal Ackermann (Bora) wears the leader's yellow jersey but he seems content  to let other teams lead the chase and for the break to gain time.

 

The trio now lead by 3:30.

 

Jelle Wallays of Lotto Soudal has also joined the break, making it four riders up front.  

 

Bora is doing the work behind but several teams are trying to slow the chase to help their teammates up front.

 

It is very brave of Wallays to go in the break. He revealed his close relationship to Bjorg Lambrecht when speaking to Ann Braeckman of the Belga news agency.

 

"He asked a lot of questions and I was happy to help him," remembered Wallays. "It was always a laugh with him. I called him 'Kleinen' ['Little One']. He was such a smiley person, such a fighter, he went so hard for it. He had so much to offer, and I was looking forward to riding the Vuelta with him again this year.

 


"Bjorg had made so much progress over the past few months," continued Wallays. "You knew he was going to be able to do something beautiful at this Vuelta. We will miss him so much, but we will also carry him in our hearts, and at the races.

 

"For me, he will always be 'Kleinen' – that smiley person we will never forget."

 

Click here to read the Wallays full comments.

 

 

The speed is high in the stage on the straight roads towards Bielsko-Biała but there are also drops of rain in the air.

 

Here's Wallays in a short from the race. 

 

 

Gradek drops back to the CCC team car and eventually changes his bike due to a mechanical problem.   

 

The peloton has upped the chase of the quartet, with Maciej Bodnar of Bora doing a lot of work on the front. 

 

The gap is down to  2:10 and still falling.

 

The peloton is lined out behind Bodnar. 

 

Planet is covered in bandages after a crash but is fighting on in the break.

 

He wears the pink best cllimber's jersey and is no doubt chasing the pints up fro grabs later in the stage. 

 

112km remaining from 154km

Alasdair Fotheringham has sent an update from the start of the stage, with information on Lotto Soudal's decision to race in the Tour de Pologne. 

Click here to read the full story.

 

 

 

107km remaining from 154km

The break and the peloton are playing cat and mouse now, with the gap back up to 2:30.

Wallays is doing a big turn on the front. He'd perhaps like to win the stage to remember Bjorg Lambrecht.

 

101km remaining from 154km

Bodnar is still on the front doing big turns, with several Bora teammates also moving up to help the chase.

 

99km remaining from 154km

Into the final 100km for the four leaders, who have 2:13 in hand on the peloton.

Away from the Tour de Pologne, Peter Sagan's road to the Yorkshire Worlds has been outlined by Bora-Hansgrohe directeur sportif Jan Valach. The Slovakian will not ride the Vuelta a Espana and will instead line out in five one-day races between now and September 29 as he seeks a record fourth elite men's road race title. Read more here.

 

93km remaining from 154km

A mechanical issue for Kamil Gradek in the break. The CCC man places his bike on the roadside and quickly takes a spare from his team car, before riding smoothly back up to his breakaway companions. 

 

91km remaining from 154km

Wallays continues to drive the pace at the head of the break, and their lead over the peloton has stretched out again to 2:50.

 

This is Charles Planet's fourth time in the break on this Tour de Pologne, and the Frenchman has a chance to extend his lead in the mountains classification this afternoon, with the category 2 climbs of Hucisko and Rychwald and the category 1 ascent of Przegibek to come later today. 

 

85km remaining from 154km

Maciej Bodnar is still sitting at the head of the peloton and setting the tempo. The gap to the break hovers around the 3-minute mark.

 

83km remaining from 154km

Drops of rain begin to fall over the escapees as they come through Kukow, 3:05 up on the bunch.

 

80km remaining from 154km

Bodnar continues too pump out the pace of the chase at the head of the peloton.

75km remaining from 154km

Riders in the break and peloton are drinking a lot from their bidon. It's 27C out there today.

 

The break is on the first climb of the day, the cat 2 climb to Hucisko, after 78km of racing.

 

There's a sprint for the KOM! 

 

Kamil Gradek (CCC Team) takes it, beating Szymon Rekita (Poland).

 

71km remaining from 154km

Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) and Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) did not really contest the sprint but the four look set to join forces again over the top. 

 

67km remaining from 154km

The peloton also crests the climb and will soon hit the only feed zone of the stage. It's time for lunch.

 

63km remaining from 154km

Riders grab bidons and musettes.

 

60km remaining from 154km

The break is close to the second cat 2 climb of the stage at Rychwałd.

 

The quartet in the break get to enjoy some shade on the climb. 

 

55km remaining from 154km

Kamil Gradek (CCC Team) is again first to top. Ands he keeps going on the descent.

 

The peloton crests the climb at 2:10 but their chase is hampered by the twisting country roads. 

 

50km remaining from 154km

The riders face an further 210km on rolling roads before the intermediate sprint in Międzybrodzie Bialski before the steep cat 1 climb of Przełęcz Przegibek. 

 

After that they enter Bielsko-Biała for a lap and then three full laps of the 7.2km finishing circuit. 

 

We can expect lots of inflatable advertising on the circuit. 

 

43km remaining from 154km

The speed is high as the peloton descends to the foot of the cat 1 climb. 

 

Bodnar is still pounding away on the front, like a metronome. Behind him are A lone Gazprom rider and several Cofidis riders.

 

His Bora teammates and race leader Ackermann are sat just a little further back. 

 

Our man Alasdair Fotheringham has done a recon of the finish, revealing it is a very long, draggy uphill finish, more than a kilometre, at about two to three percent.

 

 

39km remaining from 154km

The pace is clearly higher in the peloton now.  

 

36km remaining from 154km

Now Mitchelton-Scott are driving the pace in the peloton. The gap is down to 1:00. 

 

Nick Schultz, Damien Howson and Tsgabu Grmay are doing big, high-speed  turns on the front as they climbs gradually kicks in.

 

They are clearly trying to distance some of the sprinters before the finishing circuits and expected fast finish.

 

34km remaining from 154km

Their work has paid off and ended the hopes of the break.

 

Wallays pushes on but the peloton can seem them. 

 

Gruppo compatto!

 

Lotto Soudal seem determined to get a result today, with another rider going on the attack.  

 

An Astana rider gos with him and is first  to the top of the cat 1 climb.  

 

But the peloton is chasing them. 

 

Davide Formolo joins the two up front but he is perhaps riding for teammate and race leader Ackermann.

 

31km remaining from 154km

The descent is fast, with wide switchbacks lining out the peloton.

 

The riders are close to entering Bielsko-Biała and so face the short but steep climb four times.

 

Each 7.2km lap includes at least 3km of climbing. 

 

Mohoric goes on the attack, using his aero tuck skills to help open a gap. 

 

He's trying to time trial away but is on his own.

 

He is first through the intermediate sprint point, with Ben Swift (Ineos) taking the sprint behind. 

 

Swift in the new British champion and so has a white jersey with a red and blue band rather than the usual Ineos dark red colours. 

 

26km remaining from 154km

Mohoric leads by 15 seconds but he faces 25km out alone.

 

Mohoric seems to eased on the climb, waiting for other riders to attack and come across to him.

 

21km remaining from 154km

As the race reaches the finis area, Simon Geschke (CCC) and Grmay (Mitchelton) go across to Mohoric.

 

They help up the pace again. 

 

19km remaining from 154km

The trio lead the peloton by 25 seconds.

 

Bora and Deceuninck are leading the chase but they face  a tough task. The trio are working well together.

 

The climb means the sprinters' teams cannot  go too hard or else they will hurt their leaders. 

 

Th finish area is at the top of the gradual climb and so it will hurt everyone, especially on the last time up.

 

Pieter Serry is doing the work for Deceuninck, hoping Fabio Jakobsen can then win the sprint.

 

11km remaining from 154km

Ineos are also well placed up front and hope Swift can win today.

 

The trio of Geschke, Grmay and Mohoric lead by 15 seconds as Bora go deep to chase them.

 

10km remaining from 154km

The wide highway helps the peloton but last climb will be decisive.

 

This is a shot of Ackermann in the peloton. Her is also trying to hang onto yellow today. 

 

 

7km remaining from 154km

Last lap!  

 

The trio lead by just 6 seconds.

 

Ouch! the speed is up to 60km/h as the trio are swept up. 

 

3km remaining from 154km

Bora lead the peloton but Ineos are in the wheels waiting for the climb.

 

The peloton is split after a huge turn by Vasil Kiryienka of Ineos.

 

2km remaining from 154km

Ineos are ready to line out the peloton and make the other sprinters hurt.

 

There's a slight headwind in the finish.

 

1km remaining from 154km

Attack by Lopez (Astana). Formolo is on him.

 

Maybe the sprinters will miss out. 

 

But here come Ineos!

 

Swift is on Tao Gegoehan Hart's wheel. 

 

Sprint!

 

Luka Mezgec gets it! 

 

Swift kicked hard but it was perhaps early and he had to go on the wheels. 

 

Then Mezgec hit the front and had the legs and speed to go all the way to the line to win.  

 

Mezgec lies on the road after a huge effort.

 

But he gets up and begins to celebrate with his Mitchelton-Scott teammates.

 

Mezgec has won two stages in Poland.

 

Pascal Ackermann fionished in the middle of pack but keeps the leader's yellow jersey.

The German and Mezgc are the only two winners of stages so far, having taken two wins each. 

 

Eduard Prades of Movistar was second after a late charge, with Swift taking third, Vakoc of Deceuninck fourth and Pierre Latour (AG2R) fifth.  

 

This is the top ten for the stage.

 

1 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott 3:49:55
2 Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Ineos
4 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
5 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
8 Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9 Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
10 Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo

 

This is the new top ten on GC after stage 5

 


1 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 18:06:30
2 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:04
3 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Ineos 0:00:16
4 Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:18
5 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:20
6 Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:22
7 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:23
8 Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:24
9 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

 

Mezgec and Swift took some bonus seconds in the sprint but Ackermann still leads by 4 seconds.

 

However the overall classification is expected to change massively on Thursday with the first mountain stage in the beautiful Tatras mountains in the south of Poland.

 

After the start in Zakopane, the peloton will cover five 29km, each covering the Pitoniówka climb.

 

Before the finish there will be another, harder, first cat climb to  Gubałówka.

The finishing line will be in Kościelisko after a short, fast descent.

 

This is the first shot of the sprint and Mezgec celebrating his win.

 

 

Ackermann is last on stage to collect the leader's yellow jersey.

He also gets to spray the Italian prosecco! 

 

These images show how  Mezgec dominated the sprint.  

 

Here Tao Geoghegan Hart leads out Swift but Mezgec is on his wheel.

 

 

Swift kicked early but Mezgec soon surged past him in a lower gear but with huge power and opened a gap.

 

 

Here Mezgec kicks hard and already has a gap on his rivals. He would go on to win by 3 bike lengths.

 

 

Mezgec had plenty of time to celebrate, his rivals well behind him.

 

 

 

To read our full Tour de Pologne stage report and see the full results and a photo gallery, click here.

 

 

 

In other racing today, the Netherlands claimed victory in the inaugural mixed team time trial on Wednesday, as the new format was debuted at the European Championships.

 


The home nation stormed the event on home soil in Alkmaar, with both their men's and women's trios setting the fastest respective times on the flat but windy course.

 

Click here to read about that race and see our photo gallery.

 

Peter Sagan is currently enjoying a few days off after the Tour de France riding his Gran Fondo in Panama.

 

It emerged today that he will miss the Vuelta a España as he prepares for the World Championships in Yorkshire, where he is bidding to win a record fourth rainbow jersey.

 

The Slovakian will instead ride five one-day races over the coming weeks, though he is an absentee from this week’s European Championships in Alkmaar.

 

Click here for the full story.

 

There re lots of reports and rumours circulating about teams and rider transfers. 

 

L'Equipe reported on Tuesday that former Tinkoff and CSC manager Bjarne Riis was looking for a way back into the UCI WorldTour by purchasing Katusha from Russian owner Igor Makarov.

 

The French newspaper also suggested that Riis had shown interest in buying Patrick Lefevere's shares in the Deceuninck-QuickStep team – home to the likes of Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel.

 

 

 

However Riis has told a Danish television channel via a text message that rumours in the French press that he's interested in buying the Swiss Katusha-Alpecin WorldTour team are "new to me".

Lefevere also ridiculed talk of him selling up on social media.

 

Click here for that story.

 

After securing the services of world-class sprinter Elia Viviani, Cofidis have strengthened in the stage racing department with the signing of Guillaume Martin from Wanty-Gobert.

 

Martin had a contract with the Belgian Pro Continental team until the end of 2020, having started his professional career there in 2016, but they came to an agreement with Cofidis to release him early.

 

The 26-year-old won the under-23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and a stage of the Tour de l'Avenir, both in 2015. This year, he finished 12th overall at the Tour de France, having placed 21st and 23rd in the two previous editions. He won the Giro della Toscana in 2017, the Circuit Sarthe in 2018, and a stage and second overall at the Giro di Sicilia this year.

 

To read Daniel Benson's transfer mechanics story on Viviani's move to Cofidis, click here.

 

 

 

To keep up to date on all the rider transfers, check out our special guide by clicking here.

 

 

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