Alvaro Hodeg wins final flat stage of Tour de Pologne
A superb lead-out of Michael Mørkøv catapulted the young Colombian to a well-deserved victory and the yellow jersey.
Alvaro Hodeg shrugged off the disappointment of the first two days at the Tour de Pologne, where he finished twice runner-up, and backed by a very strong Quick-Step Floors team, showed what he's really made of, measuring his sprint perfectly and powering like a locomotive in a frantic dash to the line in Zabrze, after an impeccable lead-out by Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv, who proved again why he is one of the best in the business.
"We came here with the goal of taking a stage and getting this win today makes up very happy. It's my first time here, but I rank this as the most important of my three victories in the Quick-Step Floors jersey. The Tour de Pologne is a beautiful race, with many great fans, and I'm delighted to be here and add to the team's impressive tally this season", said Alvaro Hodeg, who just seven months into his pro career already has two World Tour victories to his name as well as two stints in the leader's jersey, at the Volta a Catalunya and here.
The story of Monday's stage wasn't different than the one of the previous flat legs of the race: four men jumped into the breakaway, put around three minutes between them and the bunch, who took their time before making the catch on the penultimate of the four laps of the local circuit. Quick-Step Floors played it cool in the finale, moving to the front with four riders – Davide Martinelli, Fabio Sabatini, Michael Mørkøv and Alvaro Hodeg – only inside the last two kilometers of what was shaping up to be another hectic sprint.
While most of the sprinters were crammed on the right side of the road, Mørkøv's class and tactical acumen surfaced, as he put in a powerful surge on the left, having Alvaro on his wheel at all times, before deploying the talented Colombian in an ideal position with 150 meters to go, from where the 21-year-old delivered a perfect sprint to the line, fending off the efforts of Daniel McLay (EF Education First) and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) to claim the victory and the yellow jersey.
"On the first two days, I couldn't capitalize on the team's excellent job. This morning I was super motivated and took advantage of the amazing work put in by the guys, to whom I want to thank for their help and commitment. Today was crazy again, but Michael was superb with the way he anticipated the sprint, so I just jumped on his wheel and powered ahead", said Alvaro – leader of two other classifications, points and youth, at the Tour de Pologne – after the 53rd UCI win of Quick-Step Floors this season. "The race will now take on a different and more testing terrain, but I will try and help my teammates as much as I can."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images