Tour of Poland #3: Brutal finishing climb one step too far for Haas

Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) won stage 3 of the Tour of Poland after being the strongest on the final steep kilometer to the line in Szczyrk. Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka rounded out the podium for Bora-Hansgrohe in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Stage 3 of the Tour of Poland saw the first real climbs come into to play as 4 categorised climbs were to be completed during today’s 161km stage. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was hoping Nathan Haas, Ben O’Connor and Natnael Berhane could play a role in the finale and so we rode in support of the trio.

Over the penultimate climb of the day and the early break of the day was caught. While a number of riders got dropped on the way up, most regained contact on the descent and our African Team was looking in good shape with 7 of our riders present heading into the final big climb of the day.

Katusha set the pace into the foot of the climb followed by an attack from their leader, Ilnur Zakarin. The bunch blew to pieces in pursuit of the Russian and only 28 riders remained upfront, Haas hanging tough with this select group. Over the top Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) got a small gap but it was still 10km downhill before the final 1km ramp to the line.

The Aussie was caught in the final kilometer and then it was every man for himself during the uphill drag race. Haas hit the ramp in a good position but the gradient was maybe steeper than many expected and ripped the legs off anyone who went too early. With just 400m to go Haas began to fade as Teuns made the decisive move. Our Australian fought valiantly though and went on to cross the line in 11th on the stage, 15 seconds behind Teuns.

Nathan Haas – Rider
Wow, it turns out Poland has a replica of the Muur de Huy. I’m climbing really well after weeks up at altitude and I was happy to be in that group going for the win. That final 500m though was just out of my league. When I blew that was that, I stayed calm and rode to 11th. Obviously it’s a bit disappointing but you must call a spade a spade and that wall was just too steep for a bigger boy like me.