2022 Tour de Pologne – Stage 4 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By @EchelonsHub

(Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

The third day of the Tour de Pologne delivered important GC differences, although mostly it separated those capable of fighting for a top result from those who will not be in the discussion. The steep hilltop finish saw Sergio Higuita take the stage win and the yellow jersey, with Pello Bilbao and Quinten Hermans closing the podium.  

Positive: Higuita taking the stage win. Hayter and Sobrero didn’t lose time, likely become the main contenders for the GC win.  

Negative: A few riders lost some seconds on the day, but the differences nevertheless can be taken back in the coming days. 

The Route 

In the fourth day of the Tour de Pologne the distances finally decrease, however it won’t be an easy day for anyone. It’s a very mixed day, favouring to a breakaway more than all previous days, however with a profile that can also see a sprint or a slight GC fight on the road.  There will be 2600 meters of climbing in a day that features a much more rolling profile, as damage will be dealt throughout the day, and the sprint dynamics may come to play in the day’s main climbs as some teams will try to make a selection.  4.6Km at 5% (32.5Km to go) and 4.8Km at 5.9 (18.5Km to go). They are not hard climbs, however they can be selective. They will not be hard enough to shed all sprinters, aswell as to make any decisive attacks based on power, however the GC fight may be decided on opportunist attacks and this will be one of them!  If the sprinters are to fight for the win then they equally have to resist what will likely be a high pace throughout the two ascents.As for the finale, it’s quite tricky. Inside the city of Sanok the riders will face tight corners, several changes of gradient into the final kilometer, where fight for positioning will be crucial. The final 500 meters see very tight streets with uneven pavement, and also gradients that go up to 7%. Although not very hard, it’s surely a day for the puncheurs or sprinters who can take it.  

The Weather

Slight chances of rain and a breeze from the northwest. Although the rain can surely cause some chaos and stimulate aggressive racing, the finale in Sanok whill have a small headwind heading into town. This should not discourage the riders though, as it should be an interesting day.  

Breakaway chances: 5% 

I give it a chance, but there’s few riders who have lost enough time to have total freedom in the race, and in a race without mountains freedom can’t be given to just anyone. A GC fight is expected, and many teams have realistic chances of winning, so I reckon it’ll be a calm day to control.  

The Favourites 

INEOS – Ethan Hayter finished in the GC group so INEOS have it’s main card secure. Hayter can fight for the win in a sprint or late attack easily, however the GC is very open and with Richard Carapaz, Jhonatan Narváez and Ben Tulett, the team has the possibility and almost responsibility to stir up the race and try to benefit from their depth and the hilly terrain.  Sergio Higuita – Higuita was the strongest today, but it was the only stage where he could make the difference – besides possibly the time-trial, but other riders should top him there. He’s taken 10 seconds and the race lead, however now, despite not being the main candidate to win the race, many will look at him to cover moves or bring them back. This is a bad position for the Colombian when the climbs favour those in the wheel a lot like tomorrow’s, he’ll hope for a conservative race, where he would stand a chance in a sprint.  Quinten Hermans – Intermarché don’t seem to be in a position to attack the race, but Hermans should have the legs to stay with the best, and such a finale is perfect for his qualities. Besides, he will not have the pressure to work, if the race remains relatively compact.  The climbs are hard enough for the climbers and puncheurs to create differences if they find the opportunity, but easy enough that many can go over. This will see a very open race, as the GC battle is very tight and creating a group that can ride away gaining even if just 10 or 20 seconds can be crucial for the GC outcome, and everyone will want to be a part of those, and play with team depth too. Bahrain have Pello Bilbao and Stephen Williams, BikeExchange have Matteo Sobrero and Lucas Hamilton, Groupama have Quentin Pacher and Bruno Armirail, Quick-Step have Mauro Schmid and Mauri Vansevenant. The likes of Felix Gall and Diego Ulissi have also shown today legs to ride with the best. Thymen Arensman and Sebastian Berwick will also be riders to consider. But it is possible that things come down to a reduced bunch sprint, or a late attack. The latter would be hard to predict who can succeed, but there are some fast men who may resist the climbs and find themselves in a favourable position. Andrea Vendrame, Sean Quinn, Stefano Oldani and Mike Teunissen would be men to consider in that scenario.  

Inside The Bus 

This morning I talk to… #37 Stephen Williams – I’m very happy you managed to overcome the crash and put on a great performance here Stephen. You and Pello are in the run, we’ve got two climbs and you two have to try and make it into the attacks, launch your own if you’ve got the legs to do it. The fight for the win can be over in a split second if the wrong group goes up the road, so always be attempt and ready to respond.  #81 Richard Carapaz – We’ve got guys in the fight for the GC, now it’s time to put them to use. Your form isn’t at it’s best that’s clear, but not an issue, we’re here to build form. One decisive and explosive attack in the final hilltop of the day is what I want you to do. If you and some more guys get a gap, the rest of the boys can deorganize any chase, and you should have the best legs for these longer climbs. If someone else manages to get that gap before you then you’re the one covering the GC group, and if none of us goes clear then we help Ethan go for the sprint.  #96 Gerben Thijssen – No need to go overboard today Gerben, the GC guys will likely go wild and the pace will be too high. Save yourself for better days, we’ll take care of Quinten.  

Prediction Time 

⭐⭐⭐ Hayter, Q.Hermans ⭐⭐Higuita, Bilbao, Quinn, Pacher, Schmid ⭐Carapaz, Narváez, Tulett, Vendrame, Teunissen, Oldani, Sobrero, Ulissi I predict a very open stage. It’s not an easy day to predict, I think an early attack in the hills will succeed with a small group going up the road. Ben Tulett to succeed in that scenario is what I’m thinking for tomorrow.  Zweeler is a fantasy sports game that includes many sports and cycling is no exception. I ask that you check it out, if you register with the link below you will not only be joining an exciting game but will also be personally supporting me and my work, and allow me to make more content for you! Tomorrow’s race has prizes of at least €100 and an entry fee of only €2.5. Make good use of your knowledge!https://zweeler.com/game/cycling/FantasyTourdePologne2022stage4/main.php?ref=790 Rúben SilvaFollow us on Twitter and InstagramJoin us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional

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