KATOWICE, Poland (AFP) — Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto-Belisol) prevailed in a sprint finish to win stage 4 of the Tour of Poland, a 236km ride from Tarnow to Katowice.
Wednesday’s stage was Van Genechten’s first win of 2014. It was also the first WorldTour win of Lotto-Belisol rider’s career.
The Belgian was followed home by Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana) and Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) in second and third, respectively.
The day’s first breakaway included Alexander Rybakov (Katusha), Boris Vallee (Lotto-Belisol), Jérôme Cousin (Europcar), Branislau Samoilau (CCC Polsat-Polkowice), and Andrey Solomennikov (RusVelo). Though the move gained an advantage of nearly three minutes at times, the bunch brought them back before the first feed zone.
The next break to go contained Josh Edmondson (Sky), Matthias Krizek (Cannondale), and Mateusz Taciak (CCC Polsat-Polkowice). The peloton kept the leaders on a short leash, with the gap staying between one and two minutes.
About 40 kilometers from the finish, Jérôme Cousin (Europcar) and Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Bauknecht-Author) attacked out of the field and eventually bridged up to the three leaders.
Attacks flew in the final circuits around Katowice, and the lead group broke apart. The peloton absorbed the final leaders just under 12 kilometers from the finish.
The Czech Republic’s Petr Vakoc (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) again finished in the bunch and retained the leader’s yellow jersey.
“Of course I’m very happy with this victory,” said Van Genechten. “It was a fast sprint, because there was a descent at the end. The right timing was important to win. With two laps to go we decided I would be the man for the sprint. Kenny Dehaes wasn’t feeling 100 percent. The whole team believed in me. Kenny did the last part of the work in the team, up to the last three kilometers. It wasn’t easy to stay together. Each rider of the team has a big part in the win. I want to thank all of them.
“Until the bottom of the last hill I was positioned well. Then I did an effort to be in a good position for the last kilometer. This victory confirms my condition and shows I can perform on the highest level. From the start of the season I am in good shape. There was an opportunity for me here and it was successful.”
On Thursday, the Tour of Poland will tackle five categorized climbs including three category 1 climbs in the final 70 kilometers, over a 190km run from Zakopane to Strbskie Pleso.