The opening kilometers of the last stage saw many attacks and CCC Team’s riders were also among those who tried to go clear.
At one point stagiaire Georg Zimmermann was part of a six-man leading group but the peloton didn’t give them too much space and they got reeled in after 20 kilometers of racing.
Shortly after the German was caught, the day’s main breakaway was formed and it included six riders, who opened up a lead of one minute 30 seconds over the peloton.
CCC Team was one of the teams setting the pace at the front of the bunch and never allowed the leaders to gain too much of an advantage. Eventually, the breakaway was pulled back with 18 kilometers to go, before the last KOM of the stage and the entire race.
The final climb saw some attacks but, CCC Team was pushing hard at the front of the peloton to bring them back and the race came down to a bunch sprint which was won by Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick Step).
Van Hoecke finished in the eighth place while Gradek also sprinted into the top 20 to secure fourth place overall, two spots ahead of his Belgian teammate. CCC Team also took home the title of Best Team at the Tour de Slovaquie after five consistently strong days of racing from the Polish team.
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“Today was quite hectic from the start when the breakaway was forming. Eventually, six riders went away and after they got caught, Łukasz and Amaro tried to attack on the finishing circuit, on one of the climbs. However, the sprinters’ teams didn’t allow them to go too far and everything came back together. In the very end, the group split and I tried to bridge the gap but I was not able to and lost four seconds. Thankfully, that didn’t matter that much in terms of the General Classification. Gijs was ninth across the line and I think it’s a good result if you take into consideration that we didn’t have a pure sprinter on the roster here. He was also sixth overall and I ended up fourth so, we can be happy with our performance. It’s a pity that I couldn’t maintain my top-three spot but Demare was too fast to beat him in the battle for bonus seconds.”
“I’m satisfied with my form and how the legs are. I had worked very hard before the race and I saw that the training paid off. Now it’s time to take some rest to be ready for Wednesday’s time trial at the UCI Road World Championships.”
Gijs Van Hoecke
“I sprinted to ninth place today, moved up to sixth on GC, Kamil kept his fourth place and we won the team classification so, we are going home with some nice results. Again, on the final stage, we rode like a real team, as we took care of each other and we were present at the front of the bunch for most of the time. The finale was quite hectic with some wind and a slightly downhill finish so, positioning was very important. I’m happy with the way we wrapped up this race.”
Tour de Slovaquie
Stage 5: Hlohovec > Senica (142.1km)
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani Deceuninck – Quick Step) 2. Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) 3. Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates)
CCC Team Top 3: 8. Gijs Van Hoecke 19. Kamil Gradek 16. Łukasz Owsian
Top 3 on GC: 1. Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 2. Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) 3. Stefan Küng (Groupama – FDJ)
CCC Team Top 3 on GC: 4. Kamil Gradek 8. Gijs Van Hoecke 14. Łukasz Owsian