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"After today it's been effectively reduced to 12 riders who can win the race. That's a better situation than we had before but there are a few good time trialists in the group. It's not going to be easy but let's try.&q...

Photo: Sirotti








06.08.2015 @ 23:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Sky battled hard at the Tour of Poland as Sergio Henao sprinted to fourth place on stage five in Zakopane.


The Colombian took it in turns with team-mate Mikel Nieve to attack as a select group headed to the finish after a gruelling day of racing.


The pair were able to shut down moves but were not allowed to go open a winning gap in the final kilometres. Henao came home fourth, leading a group in seven seconds back after three riders had jumped away.


After Nieve launched a move with just over 8km to go, Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) opted to jump just as he headed under the 4km to go banner. That proved to be the magic formula as the Belgian powered away to take the stage and the race lead.


Henao now sits eighth, 16 seconds back, while Nieve, who came home 11th, sits a second further back in the same position overall.


Team Sky worked hard to set a tempo over a relentlessly undulating course, helping to bring back the break and allow Henao, Nieve and David Lopez to remain up front when the peloton finally snapped.


Henao pushed clear with 20km to go on the Zab climb, and also bagged a single bonus second shortly after the day's final categorised ascent.


Both riders sit in a strong position heading into Friday's queen stage with the climbing set to intensify further.



After the stage Sports Director Dario Cioni praised the team and expanded upon the gameplan which saw the team control the race before allowing all hell to break loose.


He said: "The guys did a good job. We knew that Sergio was feeling good and also that Mikel was in great condition - even if for Mikel this maybe wasn't the best course. He likes the longer climbs. As a whole the team were pretty strong. It looked again like other teams didn't really want to commit today.


"We made it hard for that central section. Once we went under the finish line with one lap to go we didn't want to keep on working. We knew that if we stopped working it would actually be a harder race. Salva (Puccio) and Ian (Boswell) had done a hard tempo on the previous climbs and they sat up. After that the race exploded. Sergio, Mikel and David were in the right move which was perfect for us. It was actually Astana that made the race hard after that and it turned into quite a selective race."


Attention now turns to Friday and the queen stage which should provide another chance for the team's climbers to move up the GC order.


"It always depends on the course but tomorrow should be a proper climbing finish and both Sergio and Mikel are among the strongest guys. The goal tomorrow is to go for the stage and to try to gain as much time as possible. After today it's been effectively reduced to 12 riders who can win the race. That's a better situation than we had before but there are a few good time trialists in the group. It's not going to be easy but let's try."



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