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Phinney wins stage 4 of 2013 Tour of Poland

Taylor Phinney won stage 4 of the Tour de Pologne on Wednesday in Katowice, Poland. Phinney (BMC Racing) attacked late in the 231.5-kilometer leg from Tarnów and just held off the chasing peloton at the finish.

Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) was second and Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ.fr) was third.

Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) finished with the peloton to defend his overall lead of four seconds over Sergio Henao (Sky).

The seven-stage Tour of Poland continues Thursday with the 192km fifth stage around Bukowina.

Eight escapees made their way off the front for the day on the hilly route: Miguel Minguez Ayala (Euskaltel-Euskadi); Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto-Belisol); Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ.fr); Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura); Fabio Duarte (Colombia); Jacek Morajko (CCC Polsat); and Kamil Gradek and Pawel Franczek (Poland).

With 27km to go, the breakaway had just 55 seconds.

Ladagnous jumped with 25km to go, splitting the group, and only three men could follow.

Gradek attacked inside 20km to go and rode away from the breakaway, but his time in the spotlight was limited. Belkin took over on the front and pulled the lone remaining escapee in with 10km to go.

Valerio Agnoli (Astana) attacked with 8km to go. Agnoli couldn’t get away, but Phinney countered and rode clear with 7.7km to go. The American quickly had 10 seconds on the field.

With 4km to go, he had 15 seconds.

“It was like a prologue — and I was screaming that to him on the radio,” BMC Racing director Fabio Baldato said in a press release. “I told him to go full gas and don’t look back. He was a machine.”

Phinney bent low over his handlebars, his forearms pressed onto the tops of the bars.

Behind Phinney, Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge led the chase, but he pushed on, in the saddle, over the winding run-in to the finish.

Phinney led the bunch by 50 meters when he rolled onto the ramp to the line and held on for the victory — his first since the final stage of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge and his first career win as a professional in a non-time trial stage.

“With six-man teams here, I thought it would be harder to bring guys back, but nobody came with me,” he said in a press release. “So I just put my head down and decided I wasn’t going to look back and slowly commit to it and give it everything I had. It was twisty and turning enough that I could maintain a lot of speed. I had a lot of power, but the last couple of kilometers were excruciatingly painful. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t be one of those finishes where the guy gets passed 20 meters before the line.”