Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) moved back into the overall race lead at the 2017 Tour of Poland on Monday, putting in an impressive climbing performance on a hilly stage.
The Slovakian world champion timed his effort on the short, steep ascent to Szczyrk to finish in second place, just behind stage winner Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing). Sagan’s team-mate Rafal Majka placed third.
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Stage one winner Sagan’s effort moves him back into the race lead with four days remaining in the WorldTour-level race.
Seven riders formed the day’s main escape group, comprising Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Adam Stachowiak (Polish National Team), Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal), Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors), Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) and José Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin).
They faced a hilly day, with two ascents each of the category one Salmopol and Zameczek climbs in its second half and with a climb to the finish. Keen to keep the race under control with general classification aims in mind, the peloton didn’t allow the break much room and they only gained around three minutes.
As the day progressed into the climbs, overnight race leader Danny van Poppel (Team Sky) was dropped as the peloton was whittled down. The break’s luck ran, too, out with 35km to go, bringing the peloton all back together.
Into the final climb, Team Sky and Katusha-Alpecin took up most of the work at the front of the bunch, with the latter’s Ilnur Zakarin the first GC contender to launch an attack. He was duly reeled in, and then Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) attacked near the top of the climb, cresting it solo with 17 seconds over the bunch and onto the descent.
Behind Haig, Diego Rosa (Team Sky), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) and Dylan Teuns (BMC) clipped off the front of the bunch on the descent, chasing the lone leader. They were then joined by a larger group on the run-in to the final climb, with Rohan Dennis hammering it on the front for BMC.
Dennis’s work saw Haig caught with one kilometre to go at the foot of the climb and Team Sky took over at the front. With gradients touching 17 per cent in places, the small group engaged in what resembled a slow-motion sprint.
Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) was the first to attack, but he was chased down by Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) followed by Teuns. As Yates faded, Teuns continued onwards to take the victory, looking over his shoulder at the rapidly accelerating Sagan behind him.
The stage win continues Teuns’ great run of form, that saw him win two stages and the overall at the Tour de Wallonie last week.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) finished 12th at 14 seconds.
Having lost the race lead the previous day to van Poppel, stage one winner Sagan now returns to the yellow jersey. He leads Teuns by six seconds on GC, with Majka in third at 12 seconds.
The Tour of Poland continues on Tuesday with a long and relatively flat stage from Zawiercie to Zabrze over 238km, which should suit a bunch sprint.
Tour of Poland 2017, stage three: Jaworzno to Szczyrk, 161km
1. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing, in 3-51-41
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at same time
5. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac, at 5 secs
6. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJ, at 7 secs
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale
8. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at same time
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 12 secs
10. Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 14 secs
12. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 14 secs
General classification after stage three
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 10-03-02
2. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing, at 6 secs
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 12 secs
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 16 secs
5. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac, at 21 secs
6. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJ, at 23 secs
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 24 secs
8. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 25 secs
9. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 25 secs
10. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data, at 29 secs
14. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 31 secs