Defending champion Daniel Martin goes in to today’s final stage of the Tour of Poland with a slender three second lead over Peter Sagan after an impressive win on stage six yesterday.
The Irishman earned a hard fought hill-top win in Bukowina Tatrzanska, cracking Peter Sagan in the final kilometre and gaining 13 seconds over the Liquigas rider.
Sagan could however take back the lead in today’s 128km stage in Krakow with the time bonuses on offer. Ten, six and four seconds are available on the finish line and the Slovakian has already won two sprint stages in this year’s race.
German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Skil Shimano) will start as the favourite after winning the first three stages. Martin’s Garmin-Cervelo will be hoping that their sprinter Heinrich Haussler can finish in the top three and one other rider beats Sagan to the line.
Kennaugh and Cummings flying high
Sky riders Peter Kennaugh and Steve Cummings are currently sitting in fifth and ninth overall. While they can’t challenge for higher places in the GC on the final day’s circuit race, their placing is crucial to Cavendish’s world championship chances next month.
If they both hold on to their positions they will score 60 WorldTour points between them and become Great Britain’s seventh and eighth scoring riders in the WorldTour rankings. Adam Blythe became the sixth GB rider to score a WorldTour point when he took fifth on stage three.
The results from the Tour of Poland should increase GB’s worlds team from five to eight riders, vastly improving the support that can be offered to Cavendish in Copenhagen on the course that suits him. Nine is the most riders a team can qualify.
The rules are a little convoluted, but with Great Britain currently in the top ten rankings by nation they qualify nine riders. However, if a nation doesn’t have nine qualifying riders, they only qualify either a) one place for each of the riders who have scored points or b) six places if they have six qualifying riders or less.
Before the Tour of Poland started GB had five qualifying riders. Bradley Wiggins (181), Mark Cavendish (152), Ben Swift (91), David Millar (29) and Geraint Thomas (7).
Aug 4. 17.29hrs – Story ammended to include Adam Blythe’s fifth place
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Tour of Poland 2011, Stage 6. Bukovina Terme – Bukowina Tatrzanska, 207.7km
1. Daniel Martin (Ire) Garmin-Cervelo 5-41-05
2. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 1 sec
3. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM at 4 sec
4. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre at same time
5. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack at 6 sec
6. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana
7. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky
8. Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Polish national team
9. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
10. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale all at same time
12. Stephen Cummings (GBr) Team Sky at 6 sec
General Classification after stage 6
1. Daniel Martin (Ire) Garmin-Cervelo 23-50-06
2. Peter Sagan (Slo) LIquigas at 3 sec
3. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM at same time
4. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 17 sec
5. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky at 19 sec
6. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 22 sec
7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Polish national team
8. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Stephen Cummings (GBr) Team Sky all at same time
10. Marek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 26 sec