Tour de Pologne: Hodeg to sport white jersey on stage 5
The young Colombian leads the points standings with three stages remaining.
A change of scenery was in store for stage 4 of the Tour de Pologne, which took the riders over a 179km-long stage between Jaworno and Szczyrk, a finish for the second consecutive year. In yellow, Alvaro Hodeg, the fourth Colombian rider to take a victory at the World Tour race, after an incredible rush to the line on the previous stage, which saw him bounce back from two straight defeats and seize the overall and points jerseys.
Soon after the start, Quick-Step Floors rallied around the 21-year-old Colombian – so far the only neo-pro to have won at least a World Tour race in 2018 – and set the tempo in a peloton which let three men break away and forge a six-minute advantage by the time they hit the first of the day's four classified climbs.
From that point on, the gap began to come down, a result of the combination of climbs and brisk pace set at the head of the bunch by the GC teams, who weren't keen on letting this opportunity slip through their fingers. The pressure from the pack paid dividends and the chasers drew closer and closer to the leaders, who surrendered in the last 15 kilometers.
The final climb was a short but steep one, averaging 12.3% over 900 meters, and despite not being suited to his characteristics, Laurens De Plus put in a strong ride, moving to the front of the heavily reduced peloton with 300 meters to go and climbing at his own pace, en route to finishing just outside the top 10 on the explosive slopes which made the first gaps at this year's Tour de Pologne, only a handful of seconds behind winner and new overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky).
Alvaro Hodeg – who finished as part of a sizeable group a couple of minutes later – traded the yellow jersey for the white one, which he gets to wear for topping the points classification thanks to his three top 3 finishes in the first part of the seven-day race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images