Małecki, who started the day third overall on the General Classification, worked hard in the opening kilometers of the race to bridge across to an initial two-man breakaway that grew to be five-riders strong, extending an advantage of more than four minutes over the peloton in the first 40 kilometers of the day and making the Polish rider virtual race leader.
With 70 kilometers to go, the pace at the front of the peloton started to increase dramatically with gaps beginning to open up and the lead of the breakaway falling quicky but despite being swept up by a reduced group 20 kilometers later, Małecki was able to stick with the reduced group of favorites and follow the various attacks that were being launched off the front.
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) launched his ultimately winning move with 50 kilometers to go and while the group behind started to splinter, Małecki continued to dig deep on the third lap of the stage, which including both of the categorized climbs, before laying everything out on the road to climb to seventh on the finish line at Bukowina Tatrzańska.
After his impressive show of strength over the whole 152.9-kilometer stage, Małecki remains in the top ten overall, sitting in sixth place going into the final stage of the first WorldTour race of his career.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“I think to say I am happy with my performance today is not a surprise. This is my first WorldTour race so to finish seventh on the queen stage and still be in the top ten [sixth] overall going into the final stage feels amazing.
I started the day third on GC just four seconds back but I was still able to go into the breakaway and the peloton didn’t try to stop me. I was really able to show some strong form and climbing legs today and for me and my confidence, it’s really nice to be able to say that maybe some team’s underestimated me a little bit.
We decided that the best way for me to try to do something today was to go in the breakaway and it was a good group but we were caught by the ‘favorites’ quite early. After we were pulled back, I rode a little bit tactically and followed the different moves and increases in pace and didn’t try something myself. After the attack of Evenepoel, the group split but I gave it my all right to the line and like I said, I’m really happy.”
Sports Director, Piotr Wadecki:
“I am super happy because I say after the first couple of stage that Kamil is in good condition and I felt that if he went into the breakaway today, it would be much easier than being in the peloton. The experience from the past few years is that if you are in the breakaway you can go a more regular pace and you don’t have to fight for position on the narrow streets. When the main bunch of around 25 riders, including all of the important names, caught him, Kamil was able to stay with the guys right to the end and show a really good performance. A top ten on the queen stage and sixth on the GC is a really good result.”
Tour de Pologne
Stage 4: Bukowina Resort > Bukowina Tatrzańska (152.9km)
Top 3: 1. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) 2. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) 3. Rafal Majka (BORA – hansgrohe)
CCC Team Top 3: 7. Kamil Małecki 24. Attila Valter 27. Simon Geschke