Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) managed to fend off numerous attacks from his rivals on a climb-filled final stage of the 2017 Tour of Poland on Friday to secure the overall victory – his biggest win to date.
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Belgian 25-year-old Teuns finished in fifth place on the same time as Poels to secure the overall win. Majka was second overall at two seconds, with Poels in third at three seconds.
World champion and former race leader Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) provided an entertaining performance on the final stage, animating the day’s action almost from beginning to end. Sagan was the first rider of the day to launch an early attack.
Despite this initial effort being foiled, Sagan then rode himself into a 13-rider group that managed to stay away, which included Paweł Cieslik (Poland), Niko Denz (Ag2r La Mondiale), Diego Rosa (Team Sky), Petr Vakoc (Quick-Step Floors), Ruben Plaza (Orica-Scott), Robert Power (Orica-Scott), Dayer Quintana (Movistar), Rory Sutherland (Movistar), Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin), Daan Olivier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac) and Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida).
The group worked together over the short but testing 132.5km stage that included two laps of a circuit with three categorised climbs apiece, and many other unclassified ascents between them.
With 35km to go and half-way through the final loop, Sagan attacked from the break, with Plaza soon joining him. The two managed to distance the escape and forged ahead into the penultimate climb of Sierockie. Sagan attacked again, easily dropping Plaza to go solo.
Sagan absolutely buried himself on the undulating crowd-lined roads, as Plaza dropped back. It was then Rosa that attempted to chase the world champion, but Sagan had built up a handy half-minute gap.
Just inside 15km to go, Sagan’s team-mate Majka attacked from the bunch, followed by Poels. The two worked together on the steep, 22 per cent gradient of the final classified climb of Sciana Burkowina.
Poels caught up with team-mate Rosa, forming a useful partnership and then they caught up with Sagan and were also joined by Jack Haig (Orica-Scott). Meanwhile, Teuns had been dropped from the bunch with a mechanical problem as he was helped by BMC team-mate Tejay van Garderen.
Sagan elected to drop back out of the lead group to assist team-mate Majka. Shortly after, there was a regrouping with the Poels/Haig group, Majka group and Teuns all coming back together – Yates was in there too. Notably absent from the group was Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).
Sagan then attacked again from the lead selection, opening up a gap of 20 seconds with 4km to go.
When Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb) attacked from the lead group on the final unclassified climb to the finish, Poels was quick to chase him down, dragging the group with him. Just as the lead group caught up with Sagan, Majka attacked. Teuns followed him with Poels right behind.
Poels and Majka led the pace of the lead trio into the final 2km, with Teuns sitting in not needing to do any work despite Majka gesticulating him to go to the front. Deliberation in their riding allowed the chasers to rejoin them into the final kilometre.
Yates attacked first, Poels followed and then rode around him for the stage victory – but it wasn’t enough to distance Teuns, whose overall race win was secured. Majka appeared to hesitate in the sprint, losing the chance to claim bonus seconds and overhaul Teuns.
Tour of Poland 2017, stage seven: Bukowina Tatrzanska to Bukowina Tatrzanska, 132.5km
1. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, in 3-26-20
2. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing, at same time
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 5 secs
7. Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 12 secs
8. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 14 secs
9. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, at 18 secs
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 18 secs
Final general classification
1. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing, in 27-07-47
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2 secs
3. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 3 secs
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 10 secs
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 13 secs
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 23 secs
7. Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 36 secs
8. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 57 secs
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-19
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-22