Tour of Poland #4: Sbaragli takes 9th in blanket sprint finish

Kristian Sbaragli Slovenia Stage 2

Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quickstep) took his 2nd victory at this year’s Tour of Poland by sprinting to glory on today’s 4th stage. Luka Mezgec (Orica-BikeExchange) was the rider in 2nd and Michael Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) finished in 3rd place.

It was another long stage at the Tour of Poland today, taking in a total of 218km. There was also a bit more climbing today than in the first 3 stages but yet again the stage finished on another flat city circuit and so a sprint finish was the order of the day. There was some sad news for our African Team in the opening kilometers though as Youcef Reguigui had to abandon the race after 40km, succumbing to injuries sustained in his crash yesterday.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka put its confidence into our young Italian fast man, Kristian Sbaragli for the finale. With the early breakaway of the day caught with a little less than 20km to go, the race opened itself up to a number of late attacks during the finale. Omar Fraile, our Basque rider, showed a lot of strength in these final kilometers to follow just about all the attacks and then also, set a hard pace at the front of the peloton until 3km to go in order to discourage any further attacks.

Fraile’s good work ensured Sbaragli had the chance to sprint for the win and it was looking good for our African Team when Sbaragli rounded the final corner in 4th wheel. A slight delay by the riders in front of him though meant some sprinters were able to come by on his left and right. In the end, the top 10 sprinters were spanned across the road and a blanket could have been thrown over all of them on the line. Sbaragli had to settle for 9th place on the stage, his 3rd top 10 in succession.

Jens Zemke – Sport Director
It was another very tough day. The level here is really high, being a World Tour race the bunch is big, the stages are long and a lot of really good teams and riders are represented here. So it is very hard to get any sort of result but to have Kristian in the top 10 on 3 occasions, it is a very good result for him and it shows he is back on track for the 2nd part of the season. Once again the crowds were magnificent, particularly on the finishing circuit there were just so many people, the atmosphere is great. It’s been such a good race to be part of and we are really enjoying it here. The next two stages now are difficult climbing stages, so we look forward to Jacques and Kanstantsin doing something special.

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