Hamish Schreurs back in yellow after victory in Ciężkowice

New Zealander Hamish Schreurs (Klein Constantia) climbed to the stage victory in Ciężkowice, regaining the leader’s jersey.

22-year-old, racing in Kiwi national colours, outsprinted Max Kanter (LKT Brandenburg) and Krists Neilands (Latvian National Team) in a tough finale and with time bonus under his belt once again assumed the overall lead ahead of the final stage.

Full results available here.

150 km stage from Jabłonka to Ciężkowice was marked by four categorized climbs, two intermediate sprints and an uphill finale. After four days of racing in Hungary and Slovakia, the peloton entered the roads of Lesser Poland and headed to Ciężkowice, a town that hosted the race throughout the decades and is home to the original edition founder – Mieczysław Król.

Riders faced not only tough climbs but also poor weather – cloudy skies at the start meant rain on the course.

The first ascent of the day was followed by an intermediate sprint, ensuring fierce competition for mountains and general classifications in the early part of the day. Team Wiggins riders were partiularly active and James Knox took points atop Harkabuz ahead of Evgenii Koberniak (Russian National Team) and Leonardo Tortomasi (Altopack-Eppela-Coppi Lunata).

Minutes later Dutch rider Stephan Bakker (Cyclingteam Jo Piels), starting the day 2nd overall, collected 3 bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint, raising the stakes in the general classification and putting pressure on the leader Michał Paluta (CCC Sprandi Polkowice).

Once bonuses were awarded, the break constituted. Michael Thompson (Team Wiggins) organized the move with Artur Sowiński (Polish National Team), Maikel Bos (Cyclingteam Jo Piels), Karl Soballa (LKT Brandenburg), Nuno Bico (Klein Constantia) and Ward Jaspers (Lotto Soudal U23), quickly building a gap of a minute and picking up mountains classification points atop the second categorized climb of the day – Gruszowiec.

The pace was not enough for Bico. Portuguese rider attacked and received help only from Jaspers. In pouring rain the duo went all guns blazing towards the third climb – Pogorzelisko – holding a 50 seconds gap over the bunch led by CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

Fast pace forced by Klein Constantia rider played to the hand of his teammates who left chasing to other teams. Bico and Jaspers collected points on Pogorzelisko but were not able to fence off the chase on the last categorized climb. Efforts of Team Wiggins and CCC Sprandi Polkowice brought them back as the road started climbing up Rozdziele and British rider James Knox successfully attacked once more and rode himself into a mountains classification jersey.

Having achieved its goal, the British team eyed a stage win. Jake Kelly tried to shake things up and with help of Eriks Gavars (Latvian National Team) managed to break clear of the pack. 20 seconds quickly became a minute and the leading two contested the final intermediate sprint ahead of the bunch. Their offensive looked promising – race radio reported a gap growing up to 90 seconds – but as the pace went up inside final 15 kilometres, the gap melted and even Kelly’s daredevil solo raid inside final 5 kilometres couldn’t turn the tables.

Final climb in Ciężkowice, a 700 metres long ascent to the main square, saw nine riders contest the stage win. Schreurs finished off the job done by his teammates – led-out by Kenny Molly he outsprinted Max Kanter (LKT Brandenburg) on the line, taking back the leader’s jersey.

The race concludes with a short 130km stage to Tarnów. Riders deal with two loops, each marked by two steep climbs – Lubinka and Golgota – before heading back to the city.

picture credit: Michał Plebanek / carpathianrace.eu

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