Tour de Pologne: KOM jersey stays with orange squad, as Tratnik is the new leader

Jan Tratnik was the strongest escapee on stage 4, as he won 7 out 8 primes peppered across the course, taking over the lead in King of the Mountains classification.

Info: August 7h, Jaworzno – Szczyrk, 179km

Course: hilly (4 cat. 1 climbs)

It was the first mountain stage in this race, so it was a good opportunity to get into the breakaway. I successfully materialized the plan, since I was able to go clear. I felt very good throughout most of the day and I was hoping to get a good result at the line. Late in the stage I realized that it will be hard to do though, so I focused on battling for points at categorized climbs. I won three KOMs and to put on the magenta jersey after the stage, was a really nice reward for the effort and long breakaway. I’m very happy with my performance and we will try to defend the lead until the very end. I know it won’t be easy, but I will give my best to accomplish that goal.

For fourth consecutive time CCC Sprandi Polkowice had their man in the break. After Michał Paluta’s and Kamil Gradek’s moves on flat stages, this time it was Jan Tratnik who was involved in the escape. It went clear after a fierce battle, as many teams were interested in having their rider in the front. Eventually only 3 guys pulled away – outside of Tratnik also Marek Rutkiewicz and Bert Van Lerberghe. They worked well together and quickly established nearly 6-minute gap.

There were three intermediate sprints along the way and all of them were taken by Slovenian, gaining 9 points to most active and 9 bonus seconds to general classification. The rivalry for KOM points was the more important one, since King of the Mountains jersey was on stake. Tratnik won the duel, beating Rutkiewicz at first two categorized climbs and dropping him on the third one. He soloed across the summit adding another 10 points to his KOM account. He finished the day with 30 in total and put on the magenta jersey on the podium, which was passed on to him from his teammate, Michał Paluta.

Tratnik tried to stay up the road for as long as possible, but entire day in the break started taking its toll on him. He got caught before the last categorized climb by 4 counter attackers. They were brought back in as well, with 14km to go, and a big group, with all race favorites, approached the finishing, short and steep hill (max. 17%). Paweł Cieślik was among the contenders and in this punchy finish he claimed 21st place, 14 seconds back.

Michał Kwiatkowski got the win taking over the GC lead. He edged out Dylan Teuns and George Bennett.