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Tour de Pologne

Hermans (10th): “Each second is a bonus”

The expectations for the fourth stage at the Tour de Pologne (2.UWT, 9-15/8) were an upheaval of the General classification, but nothing was farther from the truth. The riders in the peloton waited until the final kilometers towards the finish in Bukovina Resort to start attacking. They caught the last survivor of the early breakaway of four riders only on this final climb. In the beginning of the race, Quinten Hermans was also part of this breakaway. But the Belgian rider waited for the peloton after winning the only intermediate sprint of the day. On the steep climb towards the finish, Andrea Pasqualon was one of the first attackers. Afterwards, Mikkel Honoré was on his way to a solo victory, until Georg Zimmermann sacrificed himself for his teammates and closed the gap within the final hectometers. In the end, race leader Joao Almeida was strongest on the uphill finish at the end of the 160 kilometer race. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux showed again its collective strength: Quinten Hermans finished 10th with Biniam Girmay Hailu in his slipstream. Thanks to Lorenzo Rota’s 19th place, the Belgian team won the team’s classification for a second time this week. Also Taco van der Hoorn was invited to the podium for a new intermediate sprint jersey. Thanks to the intermediate sprint and corresponding bonus seconds, Hermans climbs to 12th place in the provisional general classification, a little lower than Rota who stays 7th.

The start was fast and no teams took control immediately. So I stayed attentively in the front, hoping to join an interesting breakaway. But in the end I was part of a leading group of five and thought we didn't have a great chance on making it to the finish. That's why I decided to wait for the peloton after the intermediate sprint. By winning this sprint, we knew that Taco conserved the jersey and those three seconds were a bonus. I once lost the Tour de Wallonie for one second. In the final we had the plan to anticipate, but in the end the pace was too high and also the headwind didn't inspire us to attack. The leaders in the classification were determined to finish the stage in a sprint. We are on fire since the beginning of the week and we want to continue until Sunday.

This Friday is the last good opportunity for the riders of the general classification to make time gaps before the individual time trial. Three climbs of first category are on the 173 kilometer parcours between Chochołów and Bielsko-Biała. A new uphill finish awaits the riders after three local laps of 7.5 kilometer. 


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