Michal Kwiatkowski beats Simon Yates to overall victory at the 2018 Tour of Poland (stage by stage)

The Pole took overall victory after winning two stages along the way

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) won the 2018 Tour of Poland, beating Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) to the final yellow jersey.

The Pole took control of the race on stage four, the first of two stages he won of the seven stage race. Here’s how the race unfolded:

Stage one | Krakow – Krakow | 134km

Pascal Ackermann wins stage one of the 2018 Tour of Poland (Sunada)

In a battle between two of the peloton’s most promising young sprinters, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) got the better of Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) to win the opening stage and become the race’s first yellow jersey wearer. Quick-Step Floors produced a typically proficient lead-out at the finish in Krakow but Hodeg had no response when Ackermann jumped from his back wheel over 200 metres from the line.

The victory extended a terrific run of form for the 24-year old German, who had triumphed at both Ride London and the German national championships on his last two days of racing.

1 Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
2 Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors)
3 Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott)

Overall leader: Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Stage two | Tarnowskie Góry – Katowice | 144km

Pascal Ackermann wins stage two of the 2018 Tour of Poland (Sunada)

Ackermann continued his dream start to the Tour of Poland by making it two-in-two with another bunch sprint victory, albeit in a very style.

The sprinters were nearly denied, however, when a flurry of riders – among them a couple from the Poland National Team, as well as Hodeg’s lead-out man Michael Morkov – found themselves off the front in the final kilometre. It took a bold manoeuvre from Ackermann to weave across them and squeeze through a gap for him to win the stage, with Hodeg on his wheel to claim second-place again.

1 Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
2 Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors)
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)

Overall leader: Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Stage three | Silesian Stadium, Chorzów – Zabrze | 139km

Alvaro Hodeg wins stage three of the 2018 Tour of Poland (Sunada)

Having narrowly missed out in each of the previous two stages, Hodeg made it third time lucky with victory in Zabrze. The Colombian benefited from a superb lead-out from Morkov, who caught Ackermann and a host of other sprinters off-guard with a burst of acceleration and swerve to the left-hand side of the road. Hodeg was thus able to start his sprint a few bike lengths ahead of everyone else, and managed to hold off a charge from Dan McLay (EF Education First-Drapac) to win the sprint.

1 Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors)
2 Dan McLay (EF Education First-Drapac)
3 Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)

Overall leader: Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Stage four | Jaworzno – Szczyrk | 179km

Michal Kwiatkowski wins stage four of the Tour of Poland (Sunada)

Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) took control of the Tour of Poland on the first GC stage of the race, winning the stage and becoming the new overall leader.

On a steep uphill finish, he was the rider who timed his move to perfection. Richard Carapaz (Movistar) attacked at the start of the climb with one kilometre left to ride, and managed to build a lead that looked like it might be enough to win the stage, but tired as the gradient became even steeper and was caught 300 metres from the line.

In response, Dylan Teuns (BMC) opened up his sprint, carrying Kwiatkowski on his wheel, who came past him on a final corner to the line to win the stage.

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)
2 Dylan Teuns (BMC)
3 George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo)

Overall leader: Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)

Stage five | Wieliczka Salt Mine – Bielsko-Biala | 152km

Michal Kwiatkowski wins stage five of the Tour of Poland (Sunada)

Michal Kwiatkowski strengthened his grip on the yellow jersey with a second successive stage win, this time in a draggy uphill sprint.

A hilly stage had drastically reduced the size of the peloton, although winner of the first two sprints Pascal Ackermann remained in contention. He latched onto Kwiatkowski’s wheel on the finishing straight and pushed him close, but eventually faded in a slow-motion sprint that seemed to last an eternity, while a late charge by Teuns fell just short.

The bonus seconds gained on the line meant that Kwiatkowski extended his lead in the overall to 12 seconds ahead of Teuns.

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)
2 Dylan Teuns (BMC)
3 Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo)

Overall leader: Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)

Stage six | Zakopane – Bukovina Resort | 130km

Georg Preidler wins stage six of the 2018 Tour of Poland (Sunada)

Groupama-FDJ executed a clever tactical ploy in the final kilometres to win stage six of the Tour of Poland, with domestique Georg Preidler attacking from a small group of favourites 700 metres from the line, while team leader Thibaut Pinot marshalled the others. Preidler managed to build just enough of a lead on the downhill to the line to hold on for stage victory.

Behind, Kwiatkowski sprinted for third from the group of favourites to further extend his overall lead to 16 seconds, but not before having been put under pressure by George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo). The New Zealander attacked multiple times on the final climb, but was unable to stay clear, and was reeled in with just over a kilometre to go after a burst of pace from Teuns.

1 Georg Preidler (Groupama-FDJ)
2 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)

Overall leader: Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)

Stage seven | Bukovina Resort – Bukowina Tatrzanska | 136km

Michal Kwiatkowski celebrates on the podium at the Tour of Poland 2018 (Sunada)

Simon Yates won the final stage of the Tour of Poland, but wasn’t quite able to dethrone Kwiatkowski, who was crowned overall champion by 15 seconds.

Lying in ninth place on GC at 39 seconds, Yates attacked on the penultimate climb and managed to get a gap. By the time he was 30 seconds up the road, Kwiatkowski’s lead was in serious danger, but the Sky rider remained calm and was aided by other riders (including George Bennett, who had attacked earlier, and Thibaut Pinot) in the group of favourites who took to the front and upped the pace as the finish line approached.

The group ultimately arrived at the line 12 seconds after Yates, enough for the Briton to move up to second overall, but not enough for him to stop Kwiatkowski from sealing the yellow jersey.

1 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
2 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)
3 Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Final Overall classification
1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky, in 24-23-54
2 Simon Yates (GBr) (Mitchelton-Scott at 15 secs
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) (Groupama-FDJ at 20 secs
4 George Bennett (NZl) (LottoNL-Jumbo at 24 secs
5 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 27 secs
6 Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJ at same time
7 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 32 secs
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Emirates at 40 secs
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at same time
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 42 secs