Adrian Kurek showed some sprinting skills in stage 4 of Tour of Hainan, by finishing in 3rd place. Also the team’s youngsters, Piotr Brożyna and Patryk Stosz made the orange colors visible, by taking part in the breakaway of the day.
With 30km to go I was not feeling very well, because of the high temperatures and humidity. Later it rained a little bit, it cooled down and I revived. – Adrian Kurek explains. – After yesterday’s stage, in which Patryk Stosz finished in the top 15, the plan was the help him in the finale. But since he got into the breakaway, we had to change our strategy.
Usually I’m the lead-out man, but this time I took advantage of the fact, that I was well positioned. We didn’t have to work at the head of the pack during the stage, because we had two of our teammates in the escape. Thus, I was quite fresh.
The approach to the sprint was pretty dangerous. Many riders were in the mix and everyone was fighting for the position. You had to “switch off” thinking, to not cause any crash. Unfortunately I started the sprint from the windy side. If I managed to protect myself better from wind, I may have been able to claim even better result. 2nd place was close, since Roberto Ferrari overtook me just before the line.
I don’t remember when was the last time I sprinted to the top 3 in a bunch finish. I’ve never been a sprinter, but I can be fast at the line. I’ve shown that in Tour de Pologne, when I won the most aggressive rider classification.
After those few days of getting used to the climate, my legs are getting stronger and stronger. We concentrate on GC and stages 6, 7 and 8. The sixth one should be the decisive one. I think that in the next two, the breakaway will reach the finish. And I want to be in those breakaways.
It was not easy to get into the escape on stage 4, since it was formed after nearly 36 kilometers of fast racing. The “orange squad” managed to sent two of its riders in the front – Patryk Stosz and Piotr Brożyna. They were joined by Brian Kamstra (Team Novo Nordisk), Sofiane Merignat (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Alex Diniz Correia, Carlos Manarelli (Funvic Soul Cycles – Carrefour), Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac Professional Cycling) and Taras Voropayev (Vino 4ever SKO) and together they gained almost 5 minutes of advantage.
There was one KOM (at 22km mark, won by Alexey Lutsenko) and two intermediate sprints. Patryk Stosz won one of them and was 2nd at another.
He also pulled away with 44km to go, after the breakaway got whittled down to only 5 riders (among them was still Piotr Brożyna). Only Diniz was able to follow Polish U23 time trial champion and at the time of attack, the duo had around 2:30 gap. As it later turned out it was too little to fight for the stage win.
They got caught with 8km to go and after that nobody was too eager to make any move. It came down to a bunch sprint, for the fourth time in this race. On this occasion it was Adrian Kurek who played the role of the team’s main sprinter. He positioned himself perfectly for the finale and started the sprint from 2-3 place. He was 3rd at the line and the GC leader, Max Walscheid (Giant-Alpecin) grabbed the win. Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) took 2nd.