Tour de Pologne Stage 6: Vakoc 12th as Peloton Shatters on Final Climbs
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Petr Vakoc kept himself in a select group of riders, which formed on the final climbs of an undulating 174km 6th Stage of Tour de Pologne on Friday, and finished in 12th place.
Sergio Henao (Team Sky) won the stage solo, after counter attacking and going over the top of teammate Mikel Nieve, as well as Ben Hermans (BMC Racing Team) with 1.3km left to race. Henao is the new race leader after the stage.
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) finished 2nd, and Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin) 3rd as the chase group behind Henao finished in small groups.
Vakoc tried his own attack with 10.6km remaining, but he was quickly brought back.
The peloton exploded inside 15km to go, due to the high pace set on the front by teams like Team Sky and Astana in steep sections of the climb.
Michal Kwiatkowski animated the race earlier, attacking as much as five times in the original breakaway. Michal Golas and Gianluca Brambilla were also present in the breakway that had as many as 20 riders present. That breakaway was down to just a few attacking riders, but the race came back together with 25.7km remaining.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to the final, 25km ITT in Krakow on Saturday. The general classification will likely be decided on the final day, as Henao and Ulissi, currently in 2nd overall,,have the same time. Bart De Clerq (Lotto Soudal) is just 10" down in 3rd place.
"At the beginning there was a big breakaway with a few of my teammates," Vakoc said. "So I was sitting in the bunch and trying to save energy for the final. In the first climb of the last lap, there was an acceleration and we went with a group of 20 riders. I managed to stay with them. In the last downhill I tried to anticipate and get an advantage, because I wasn't in a threat for the general classification. But they came back to me, so I decided to stay there and recover a bit. The first part of the last climb was really steep and I couldn't really follow. I hung on, but at the end I paid a bit the bill. Anyway, I'm happy about my race, and tomorrow I will try to do well in the time trial. I feel good and I trained a lot in the last weeks on my TT bike. Let's see what I can do."