Lesko > Sanok 179km
The fourth stage of the Tour of Poland is a day that will interest different types of riders, there’s something for everyone. After his win today, Sergio Higuita is in the yellow jersey and Bora will be in charge of controlling the stage. Today, they only had Aleotti left to support Higuita towards the end of the stage, this could be an issue in this stage.
Another sunny day with pleasant temperatures.
The finale of the stage kicks off with this cat 2 climb, but it should be relatively straightforward for most in the bunch.
This is the big point in the stage, and I have no idea why it’s unclassified as it’s harder than the cat 2 climb. 4.7km at 6.1%, but with lots of sections above 10%, this is a proper climbing test. With just 19km to go from the crest, it should see some teams attacking and looking to put Bora under pressure. The descent is technical, it has lots of hairpin bends for the riders to deal with.
This is a nasty little finish, with the final 500m averaging over 5%. It kicks up to over 10% with around 300 to go, before levelling off for the final 100m which is also on city centre cobbles.
How hard do teams want to make the final two climbs? The final climb is too hard for the pure sprinters, they won’t be in the equation for the finish, but this also removes teams who want to chase the break. Someone like Thomas De Gendt will sniff a chance of doing something, it’s the type of stage where the break could be allowed a big gap before anyone starts to chase.
Then we have the delicately balanced GC picture. With the 12km ITT to come on Thursday, riders like Sergio Higuita need time on Hayter, Sobrero and Cavagna. The climbers need to make every hill count if they want to win the yellow jersey. The problem for Higuita is the sprint finish is not only good for him, it will also interest Hayter. Will Bora try to set up a sprint and risk losing time?
Ineos looked strong today, but they didn’t walk away with the win. On the plus side for them, Hayter finished in the front group and didn’t lose any time to his GC rivals. This stage is one that should suit him, he’ll survive the climbs and Ineos will have the numbers to control the finish. If he can manage to come up with the win, he’ll secure 10 bonus seconds, which would be a big help in the battle for yellow.
Ethan Hayter – this is a great looking stage for him, he should be the fastest rider left in the bunch come the finish, if the stage is ridden hard. Ineos were one of the teams who controlled today’s stage, I would expect them to do something similar in this stage, in the hope of setting up a sprint. As I’ve already mentioned, the carrot of 10 bonus seconds is one they cannot resist.
Sergio Higuita – took a brilliant win today, and he should be fighting for another one in this finish. As it’s an uphill kick, he has a chance of taking another win, or at least finishing on the podium. The little Colombian has a very fast sprint, but can he beat Hayter in a finish like this?
Quinten Hermans – 3rd today, he’ll fancy his chances in this one. Today he wasted a little energy by attacking on the penultimate climb, we’ll have to see how he approaches this stage.
Quinten Pacher – usually goes well in stages like this. He was 5th today and was 3rd in the opening stage of Catalunya, in a finish not too dissimilar to this one.
Diego Ulissi – his team worked hard for him today, but he didn’t have what it required to challenge for the win. They’ll go for it again; this finish is slightly better for him.
Andrea Vendrame – it all depends on how hard they race the climbs. Despite challenging in some bunch sprints, Vendrame isn’t a sprinter, he can get over some hills. If he gets to the finish in the front group, he should be challenging for the win.
Mike Teunissen – climbed brilliantly today, if he can hang on over the final climb he’ll be in with a shout of taking the stage win. The uphill grind to the line is a little like the finish where he took his Tour de France win, and with it the yellow jersey. Hopefully he’ll survive the climb and have a teammate to help position in the closing kilometres.
Kaden Groves – of all the sprinters, he’s probably the one with the best shot of surviving the climbs. The Aussie has always been someone who climbs well, he’ll hope the pace on the final climb is steady and not full of attacks. If he does make it to the finish, he should also cope well with the uphill rise to the line.
Nikias Arndt – it looks like his type of stage. He took a brilliant win last year, can he surprise some of the bigger names again?
Thomas De Gendt – breakaway hopeful number 1, 2, 3, and 4.
I went with him today and I was wrong, but I’m going to stick with him and predict a win for Ethan Hayter.