After a day of climbing on the longest stage of the 2020 Tour of Poland, it was Richard Carapaz who stole the show, going early with 250 metres to the line to take an emphatic victory and the overall lead on stage three.
The pace was rapid in the final couple of laps of a finishing circuit as the peloton looked to set up the bunch sprint on the uphill finish in Bielsko-Biala.
How it happened
The riders set out from Wadowice and entered the climbs as they had several tough climb to take on during the 203.1km stage to the resort town of Bielsko-Biala.
A four man break went up the road with Quetin Jauregui (Ag2r La Mondiale), Kamil Gradek (CCC Team), Taco van der Hoorn (Jumbo-Visma) and Patryk Stosz (Polish National Team) in there.
Jauregui was dropped first and headed back to the peloton. It was with around 40km to go when Van der Hoorn attacked on one of the toughest climbs and dropped the rest of the break.
Behind, Tomasz Marczyński (Lotto-Soudal) tried to push across but was brought back over the top of the last major climb with 35km to go after Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) put in a bit of an effort, upping the pace.
As the peloton entered the finishing circuit with 28km to go, Nathan Haas (Cofidis), went on the attack on a tight cobbled rise, caught and passed Van der Hoorn and pushed on, with the Jumbo-Visma rider going back to the peloton.
Nathan Haas crossed the finish line, with 21km to go, for the first of three times on the 7.2km circuit with the peloton crossing the line 1-01 behind the Australian rider.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe held control of the peloton, but it wasn’t immediately clear who they were working for as the uphill finish could suit a large number of different riders.
Haas was caught just before starting the final lap with 7km to go. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) sacrificed his chances of victory to pull the time gap down from 55 seconds to 30, then Deceuninck took it up on the front of the bunch.
The peloton shrunk in size dramatically going into the final lap as Ineos were the team who took control on a day to work for their leader, Carapaz.
Ineos lead all the way until the final kilometre where Bora retook the lead with Austrian national champion, Patrick Konrad, then UAE Team Emirates tried to tee things up for Ulissi.
It was a very early kick from Carapaz, he pulled out about 10 bike lengths clear, but began to fade as the riders behind, led by Ulissi, began to gain all the time.
But the Giro d’Italia winner from 2019 held off the pack to cross the line first and take his maiden win as a Team Ineos rider.
The Tour of Poland continues tomorrow with a tough 152.9km climbing stage from Bukovina Resort to Bukowina Tatrzanska.
Tour of Poland 2020, stage three: Wadowice to Bielsko-Biała (203.1km)
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos, in 5-04-54
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Jasper Stuyvan (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, all at same time
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos, in 13-02-36
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 4s
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 6s
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at same time
5. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling, at 10s
6. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
7. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Pro Cycling
9. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos
10. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott, all at same time.