Dylan Teuns timed the final climb of Tour of Poland stage 3 to perfection by powering away from the rest of the field in the closing meters of the day to secure his maiden UCI WorldTour stage win and move into second overall on the General Classification.
With all of the day’s climbing coming inside the second half of the 161km course, the peloton was happy to allow a seven-rider breakaway to go clear early and build up an advantage which eventually settled at a manageable 3’30” after 60km of racing.
The gap was holding steady at under four minutes as the riders passed through the finish town of Szczyrk, with less than 80km to go, and began the first of two local circuits, which contained two categorized climbs, before heading onto the steep kick up to the line.
As the road began to rise, the leaders’ advantage started to fall steadily, and going over the top of the opening climb to Salmopol, they had been brought to within 2’30” with race leader at the start of the day, Danny Van Poppel’s Team Sky setting the pace behind.
The breakaway continued to be reeled in by the peloton and as the race reached the final 40km of the day, just 30 seconds separated the leaders from the rest of the field with attacks flying off the front of the bunch before they were eventually swept up.
The subsequent increase in pace began to take its toll with riders slipping back and, in the end, only a reduced group of around 70 riders was left in the main bunch heading onto the final categorized climb of the day less than 20km from the finish line.
Teuns and Rohan Dennis were well-placed as they reached the steepest slopes of the climb before Jack Haig (ORICA-Scott) launched a final bid for glory just before the summit with 11km to go.
A select group of around 20 riders, which still included Teuns and Dennis, was left to chase Haig on the high-speed descent towards Szczyrk. A huge effort from Dennis saw the gap reduced to just five seconds before the catch was eventually made at the bottom of the final kilometer climb to the line.
Teuns was able to follow all the late attacks before hitting the front with 200m to go and making his mark on the race by powering up the steeps slopes before punching the air with delight as he secured an emotional stage win.
Peter Sagan (Bora – Hansgrohe) crossed the line second to reclaim the leader’s yellow jersey while, Teuns’ impressive performance saw him move into second overall, six seconds behind the race leader.
Ben Hermans was involved in a crash during the stage and was forced to abandon the race. An update from BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Daniele Zaccaria will be provided when available.
The Winner’s Interview with Dylan Teuns
Congratulations, Dylan! This is your first UCI WorldTour stage win, can you describe how you are feeling?
“I feel great. It’s just amazing. There isn’t much more I can say. It’s a great feeling and an incredible moment for me.”
You looked really strong on the final climb. Were you feeling confident coming into today’s stage?
“This type of stage is where my strengths lie and I had the whole team behind me and supporting me. Just like in Wallonie when I said I wanted to go for the GC, the team gave me their full support today. I was a little bit more careful here as after the first two stages I could see that the level was a lot higher here. I knew I was in a good shape coming into the race but you always have to see how the race develops and how your legs are.”
“I also couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They did a great job all day and brought me into the position I needed to be in for the final.”
Does this win give you a lot of motivation as you look ahead to the rest of the race?
“Definitely. The main goal for me coming into the race was today’s win but I was also given the opportunity to go for the GC and now I am in a good position overall. Today’s win has certainly given me more confidence but I think we we still need to take it day by day. There are still a lot of strong riders up there but I am now in the position to do a good GC so I need to try everything to do my best and to give my best for the team. We will see how far I can go.”
Quotes From the Finish Line
Sports Director, Max Sciandri:
“Coming into the race, we knew that today was a big day for Dylan Teuns. As a team we did a fantastic job, especially Rohan Dennis on the climbs and then the final pull before Dylan executed the plan to perfection. We are really happy but there is still a long way to go so we will see what happens but this is definitely an important win and a big achievement for a young rider like Dylan.”
“We also had some disappointment today with Ben Hermans being forced to abandon the race after his crash.”