Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) won the stage 6 time trial of the Tour de Pologne in Wierch Rusiński, while Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) is on the cusp of overall victory after moving into the yellow jersey with one day remaining.
Hayter placed third on the stage to divest Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hangrohe) of the race lead, and he will carry an 11-second lead over Arensman into Friday's final leg to Kraków, while Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) is now third overall at 18 seconds.
The 11.8km course climbed steadily from the start in Nowy Targ to the finish and Arensman was the only rider to post an average speed in excess of 40kph on the deceptively difficult course. The Dutchman's effort put him seven seconds ahead of the early pacesetter Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers), and none of the riders who followed would better their times.
"It was all uphill so 40kph is pretty fast, I guess," said Arensman. "Luckily I was fast enough to get the victory today, and I'm happy with that."
The British time trial champion Hayter was the best of the late finishers, taking third on the stage, eight seconds behind Arensman, an effort that may have been enough to secure him the first WorldTour stage race win of his young career.
Although there is some early climbing on Friday's final stage after the start in Valsir, Arensman maintained that the flat run-in to Krakow meant that Hayter was already all but assured of final overall victory.
"I think that's very hard on the flat stage," Arensman said when asked if he could overhaul Hayter at the last. "I think it's all about staying upright, avoiding crashes and getting inside the final 3km before the sprinters take over. I think we've very happy with second place and congratulations to Ethan on a very good TT."
As expected, the short time trial redrew a general classification that had been sketched out in Tuesday's punchy finale in Przemyśl, where Higuita had seized the yellow jersey with his stage victory.
Higuita's effort in this time trial was hardly helped by the rather loose-fitting yellow skinsuit provided by the race organisation, though he limited his losses on Arensman to 50 seconds. No matter, Higuita drops to 8th overall, some 32 seconds behind Hayter. Higuita's teammate Jordi Meeus, meanwhile, was forced to abandon the Tour de Pologne after he crashed during his effort.
Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange-Jayco) was perhaps the favourite for the stage and a firm contender for overall victory, but the Italian could only manage 8th on the day, and he crossed the line shaking his head in disappointment. Sobrero, who beat Arensman to win the final time trial of the Giro d'Italia in May, now lies fourth overall, 23 seconds off Hayter.
Richard Carapaz (Ineos) delivered a surprisingly subdued display and he dropped out of the general classification picture altogether after conceding 1:20 to Arensman across the 11.8km course. The Ecuadorian, who is preparing for the Vuelta a España, will start the final stage in 22nd place overall, 1:12 off the pace.
Carapaz's young Ineos teammates enjoyed rather better afternoons. Sheffield had a long stint in the hot seat after his impressive outing, while Ben Tulett placed sixth on the stage and now moves up to fifth place overall, 25 seconds behind Hayter.
Arensman, meanwhile, will rue the seconds he conceded to Hayter on stage 3, though he acknowledged that this time trial was always likely to prove the pivotal day at the Tour de Pologne.
"For sure, I think everyone saw that the time trial would be very important for the general classification and the team did a good job to keep me out of trouble and in front of any crashes," said Arensman. "In the end I just needed legs to get victory today. Now I'm second overall and hopefully I can stay upright tomorrow."
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