Thor Hushovd won stage 5 of the Tour de Pologne in Zakopane on Thursday. Hushovd (BMC Racing) rode a cagey uphill sprint for victory in the 160.5-kilometer leg from Nowy Targ.
Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ.fr) was second and Daniele Ratto (Cannondale) was third.
Jon Izaguirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took the overall leader’s jersey from Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff), who is now second and trails by one second. Sergio Henao (Sky) is third, at five seconds.
Six climbs to Zakopane
A breakaway of eight escaped early in the six-climb stage: Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step); Mathias Frank (BMC Racing); Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil-DCM); Darwin Atapuma (Colombia); Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ.fr); and Pawel Cieslik (Poland); and Jacek Morajko and Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Polsat). Atapuma wasn’t long for the move, however, and seven riders led the race for the bulk of the day.
The final 40km of the stage featured two categorized climbs, in the Cat. 1 Glodówka and Cat. 2 Droga do Olczy, that latter of which topped out 3km from the finish.
Veikkanen and Ciesli dropped off the pace on the approach to the Glodówka, leaving five men in the move.
Behind them, Colombia led the peloton at 45 seconds.
A NetApp-Endura rider attacked from the peloton with 28km to go, stringing the bunch out. Up ahead, Mihaylov rode free of his companions, just 23 seconds ahead of the peloton. Frank led the chase of the CCC Polsat man, but the heavyweights from the bunch were drawing them in.
With 26km to go, the breakaway was finished.
Attacks come late
A short-lived counter-attack saw Mihaylov jump free with a rider each from Argos-Shimano, Garmin-Sharp, Lotto-Belisol, and Katusha. The move didn’t succeed, but the reshaping at the front of the race saw the tension tick up in the GC race. Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was there, as were overall leader Majka and Henao.
The attacks flew over the top of the Glodówka, with KOM leader Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack-Leopard) taking top points on the climb, and a group of six escaped on the descent: Darwin Atapuma (Colombia); Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale); Rober Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard); Maciej Paterski (Cannondale); Sergei Chernetski (Katusha); Luis León Sánchez (Belkin).
The group held 20 seconds with 10km to go.
Saxo, BMC Racing, Lotto, and Sky each put a rider at the front of the chase, with 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins among them. With 6km to go, the gap was 11 seconds.
Riblon entered the stage just six seconds back of the overall lead.
Paterski jumped with 5.5km to go and caught the escape off-guard. With Majka second wheel, the peloton overcame Riblon and Co. with 5km to go.
Kevin De Weert (Omega Pharma) countered, followed by Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing), but they got nowhere. A trio of riders countered them. Eros Capecchi (Movistar) chased and made contact with the three leaders, Nathan Haas (Garmin) and Riblon following him. The Frenchman immediately attacked when they caught on, but Capecchi pulled him back.
With 2km to go, the front of the race was back together.
Omega Pharma led out the peloton, but Lampre crashed the front and took command with 1km to go.
Garmin opened the sprint with 700 meters to go, Sky tucked in behind with Rigoberto Urán and Henao. With 500 meters to go, Urán was at the front, trying to set up Henao for the win.
Henao jumped when his countryman pulled off, but Hushovd came around, and rode away with his second win of the race. The victory made three in a row for BMC Racing, with Taylor Phinney’s solo win on Wednesday.
The Tour of Poland continues Friday with the 192km circuit around Bukovina.