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Vuelta a Andalucia: Szmyd 4th on the top of Alto de Allanadas

Sylwester Szmyd proved to be still one of the best climbers in the peloton. He finished 4th in stage 4 of Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol which ended with a climb to Alto de Allanadas.

I said before the stage that I want to go hard from the bottom of the last climb, to the finish. I received a lot of help from my teammates who made sure I am in the front part of the peloton in the final 50 kilometers. Right before the last climb Maciej Paterski moved up to the front and set me up for the ascent. From that point it was all about pushing it hard – mentally and physically. I surprised myself that I was able to stay with riders such as Froome or Contador so long. On the top of the climb I realized what I actually did. It’s been a while since I had a “1” in the bib number, because I’ve never been really a leader of a team. Now I am, although there is no pressure on me. Because of that I feel very comfortable mentally. I have a big support from the team and it’s much easier to race when you are in that kind of environment. Today’s result gave me a lot of joy and calmed me down. Especially after those two difficult seasons, when I lost some self confidence. I still have a lot of fire in me and I still want to compete at the high level – Sylwester Szmyd said afterwards.

The day before Szmyd took part in a breakaway of the day and spent 140 kilometers in the front. It didn’t prevent him from finishing today among the best.

I gave a lot in yesterday’s break and I didn’t tackle the last climb easy. I decided to go strong despite the fact that we got caught and I didn’t have any chances for a good place in the end. I wanted to do solid training. I felt good and I think that if we had a 1:30 gap at the bottom of the last climb I could have finish around podium. I didn’t have too much to lose but a lot to gain. It was worth to give it a try.

I work with my coach with Giro d’Italia as a main goal. I see that my form is better than I’d expected. I needed some racing kilometers in my legs and that’s why I wanted to race in Dubai, where I had a chance to do some high pace riding. Vuelta a Andalucia is also a part of the preparation for the Italian Grand Tour. I need to build a solid and stable form which is crucial for 3 weeks of racing and long climbs, where the body has to work extremely hard for 40-45 minutes or more.

The second mountain stage was held under wet and cold conditions. It started with rain and lots of attacks from the bunch. It took over an hour to form a 9-man breakaway, but this time there was no riders in orange jersey in it. Despite long distance to cover on that day the gap was never bigger than 4 minutes and the peleton was controlling the situation.

In the second part of the stage two riders attacked from the leading group – Simon Geschke (Team Giant – Alpecin) and Mirco Selvaggi (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and left other escapees behind. With 6km to go, at the bottom of the final climb Alto de Allanadas, their advantage was still around 2 minutes. Later Selvaggi decided to make a solo move, but he was reeled in with 1km to go.

When the road started to go uphill Maciej Paterski moved up to the front, helping Sylwester Szmyd in chasing good results on the stage. Yesterday’s escapee took advantage of great job done by his teammates and had the opportunity to test himself against arguably two best Grand Tour riders in the world – Alberto Contador and Christopher Froome. He reached the top of the climb in 4th place, 59 seconds behind the winner, Froome. Contador was 2nd and Mikel Nieve 3rd.

Results of stage 4 of Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, Maracena – Alto de Allanadas, 202,4km

1. Christopher Froome (Team Sky)

2. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) 0:29

3. Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) 0:49

4. Sylwester Szmyd (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) 0:59

32. Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) 3:41

57. Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) 10:04

103. Adrian Honkisz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) 17:26

104. Grega Bole (CCC Sprandi Polkowice)