Magnus Sheffield second in Tour of Poland TT, Ethan Hayter takes over race lead
Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) blasted to victory against the clock.
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Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) blasted to victory on stage 6 of the Tour of Poland on Thursday, setting the best time on a mainly uphill 11.8 kilometer time trial course.
He clocked 17:40 for the distance, seven seconds better than the 20-year-old American rider Mangus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) and a further second quicker than Sheffield’s teammate Ethan Hayter.
The WorldTour success marks Arensman’s first victory as a professional and comes after two runner-up slots in this year’s Giro d’Italia, including the final TT stage.
“All the preparation from the staff and team was on point. All I needed was some good legs out there,” Arensman said. “I didn’t have my very best day but in the end it was good enough for the victory. It’s great to get my first pro victory with the team and for this to be in a TT at a WorldTour race.
“The win’s only possible thanks to the investments that the team has made in time trialing with me. We’ve got an absolutely amazing equipment setup too. We can all be proud for this achievement so I want to say thanks to the whole team. Now we look ahead to tomorrow’s final stage.”
Sheffield will take encouragement from his runner-up slot, even if he will rue missing out on victory. He won a stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia earlier this season, as well as De Brabantse Pijl.
Teammate Hayter took over the yellow jersey on the stage when overnight leader Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished back in 16th place. The Briton is now 11 seconds clear of Arensman and 18 in front of Bilbao.
Matthew Sobrero (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) and Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) are fourth and fifth.
Hayter is in line to add the final GC win to the Tour of Norway success of last season, but he and his team need to successfully negotiate Friday’s concluder, a 177.8 kilometer race to Krakow.
It includes first and third category climbs inside the opening 46 kilometers, making for a potentially explosive start, but the remainder of the stage is on either undulating or flat roads.
How it played out:
Stage 6 of the Tour of Poland was a 11.8 kilometer time trial from Szaflary to Wierch Rusińsky. It was mostly uphill, although the concluding 200 meters was downhill to flat.
Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) was one of four riders not to start, with the Manxman leaving the race in advance of his Commonwealth Games participation.
Josef Černy (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) was the early leader, having covered the distance in 18:54. This was improved by eight seconds by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), who recorded 18:46, but American rider Mangus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) then went 59 seconds faster to take over in the hot seat.
Compatriot Lawson Craddock (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) came through for provisional second place, before being displaced by Marco Brenner (Team DSM).
Sheffield was nervously watching the times of the other riders and found himself bumped down a slot when the Team DSM rider Thymen Arensman bettered his time by seven seconds. The Dutchman was followed by others such as the tipped Ethan Hayter and Richard Carapaz (both Ineos Grenadiers), with race leader Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) the last to start.
He had started the day with a lead of just ten seconds over both, but had said repeatedly during the week that he was looking forward to the time trial. His effort would show if that was wishful thinking or justified optimism.
Hayter raced in to the finish but came up eight seconds short of Arensman’s time. Carapaz was further out of contention, finishing a full one minute 20 seconds back, and making it one less challenger to Higuita.
Diego Ulissi, who had started the day fourth overall, took provisional 14th, 53 seconds back, while the third-placed rider Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) was slower again, conceding 1:20 to Arensman.
Higuita’s closest challenger Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) was next to reach the line. He sprinted all the way down the finishing straight but had to be content with ninth. This was still better than Higuita, though, who dug deep all the way to the finish but was 16th, 50 seconds off the best time.
Hayter had started the day seventh overall and surged into overall leadership, ending the stage 11 seconds clear of Arensman and 18 in front of Bilbao. Higuita dropped to eighth.
With a likely bunch sprint on Friday’s final stage, Hayter is looking good for the overall race victory, but will need to rely on his Ineos Grenadiers teammates to prevent any last-day surprises.
Results will be available once stage has completed.