Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) secured the first WorldTour overall win of his career with victory at the Tour of Poland, the Briton completing the seven-stage race with unerring consistency despite not finishing first on a single day.
Hayter won the Tour of Norway and finished second at the Tour of Britain in 2021, but he hasn't triumphed on GC at a WorldTour race - until now.
His win makes him just the sixth active British rider to have won a WorldTour race, alongside Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghan Hart, Adam Yates and Simon Yates.
The British time trial champion managed to finish in the top ten on the stage six time trial, completing the 11.8km circuit eight seconds slower than winner Thymen Arensman (Team DSM), and a second behind teammate Magnus Sheffield.
Despite finishing in lower positions across the previous five stages, the 23-year-old constantly managed to finish within the peloton, meaning he only lost time to riders based on bonus seconds.
He did cross the line a couple of minutes after stage four winner Pascal Akermann (UAE Team Emirates), but due to being held up in a crash in the final kilometre, he was awarded the same finishing time.
His time trial performance therefore helped him move into the overall lead of the race, as the-then leader Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) could only manage to place 16th, over 40 seconds further back.
Coming into the final stage, a 177.8km ride from Valsir to Kraków, Hayter had an 11 second lead at the top of the standings. Arensman sat in second, while Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) was 18 seconds behind in third.
The day started with cat-1 and a cat-3 climbs inside the opening 50km, but only a small breakaway comprised of Julius Johansen (IntermarchéWanty-Gobert Matériaux), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Soudal) and Syver Wærsted (Uno-X Pro Cycling) managed to get away from the bunch.
With the remainder of the final stage featuring undulating and flat roads, Ineos Grenadiers were able to control the peloton, providing Hayter with the best opportunity for his first WorldTour overall victory. He duly supplied, taking the opportunity with both hands.
The attackers were caught with 10km remaining, allowing teams to begin getting into position for their sprint lead outs. Hayter sat on the wheel of Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers), biding his time to control any potential attacks from his GC rivals.
A pan-flat finale made this difficult, though, and the bunch remained in tact as it headed into the last kilometre.
Groupama-FDJ worked their way to the front, allowing Arnaud Démare a free sprint to the line ahead of Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) and Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious), in second and third, respectively.
Démare's win ensured he topped the points classification, the second time he has done so this season following his Giro d'Italia performance.
Tour of Poland 2022 final standings
1. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, in 28-26-23
2. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM, at 11s
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious, at 18s
4. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco, at 23s
5. Ben Tulett (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 25s
6. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 31s
7. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan, at 32s
8. Sergio Higuita (Col) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 45s
10. Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 50s
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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