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Ethan Hayter prevails at Tour de Pologne with overall title

Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) took home the first WorldTour stage race victory of his burgeoning career, finishing safely in the bunch behind stage winner Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) on stage 7 of Tour de Pologne in Krakow on Friday.

Hayter, winner of the ProSeries Tour of Norway last season, took the lead in the stage 6 individual time trial with a thin 11-second advantage over Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) and faced little challenge as the day-long breakaway absorbed any bonus seconds available mid-stage. There was no change to the overall standings, with Hayter and Arensman locked in first and second, with Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) third at 18 seconds.

Ineos Grenadiers led the peloton to the safe zone with 3km to go before giving over the lead-out duties to the sprint teams. Jumbo-Visma started the lead-out only for Lotto Soudal's Roger Kluge to jump away in an attempt to steal the show.

The move was enough to disrupt their lead-out and leave stage 1 winner Olav Kooij adrift and chasing a too-early surge by Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates). Démare came charging up the left-hand side and blasted past to steal the victory, with Kooij unable to match the Frenchman's speed.

Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) came in just behind for third on the stage.

How it unfolded

Julius Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Soudal), and Syver Wærsted (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) made the day-long breakaway that gained over four minutes on the group of race leader Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers).

The quartet counter-attacked as a nine-rider move that went clear in the opening kilometres came back, with De Marchi doing most of the forcing to carve out a breakaway.

Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën) and Patryk Stosz (Polish National Team) tried to bridge across but never made it, leaving the four riders to try and stay away over the remaining 164 kilometres and three categorized climbs.

The first climb at Bieńkówka went to Drizners, the Australian who six months ago suffered a life-threatening laceration of his liver in a crash at the UAE Tour. The Lotto Soudal rider continued his assault on the mountains classification on the next ascent at Gmina Budzów - between the two climbs earning enough to seal the final climber's prize.

De Marchi, at 2:43 from Hayter at the start of the stage, spent most of the day in the virtual yellow jersey and claimed the three-second time bonus in Myślenice, but by the time the leaders reached the last climb at Kaszów, they had lost Wærsted and the peloton whittled down their advantage enough to swing the balance back to Hayter.

De Marchi attacked into a brisk tailwind with 21.5km to go as the peloton closed to within a minute and left Drizners and Johansen behind.

But as the peloton passed under the banner with 15km to go and three local laps, the wind died down and the chase quickly brought the Italian to within 12 seconds. The peloton bided their time in chasing him down and, with 12.3km to go, Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën) tried to foil the sprinters with a flat-out attack.

De Marchi looked back as the Frenchman joined him and the pair set to the fruitless task of trying to hold off the lead-out trains, dangling five seconds out in front.

With the bell sounding for the final lap, the pair were brought to heel just before the banner with 5.3km to go. Another fruitless attack came from Uno-X with 4.2km to go but he never got more than a few metres before the trains swept past in full flight with Démare taking the stage win.

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Laura Weislo

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.

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