Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) took his second stage win in the Tour of Poland as he claimed the win in stage four, extending his lead in the overall classification. Luka Mezgec (Orica-Bike Exchange) took second, with Michal Kqiatkowski (Sky) in third. Dion Smith (ONE Pro Cycling) was the first Kiwi home in 12th place, in the same time as the stage winner.
The 214 kilometre stage saw riders take on a lumpy route that featured two climbs around the 110 kilometre mark, followed by a tightly packed trio of climbs around the 160 kilometre mar, including the two climbs already conquered earlier in the stage, before a flat 30 kilometre run in to the finish.
The stage started with the usual flurry of attacks as the daily break tried to establish itself. A two man move containing Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Bike Exchange) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) went clear and built a break of some 30 seconds before being joined by five more riders, including Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF), Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC), Igor Boev (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Adam Stachowiak (Verva Activejet), and Szymon Rejita (Poland). The group built up a solid lead that went up to seven minutes, while behind the Etixx-QuickStep team of race leader Gaviria was controlling the peloton.
The peloton slowly closed the gap on the break, while riders were shelled out the back of the peloton on the climbs. As the advantage of the break kept decreasing, the attacks started up in the lead group, with Keukeleire pushing ahead with a couple of other riders, before De Marchi launched a last gasp attack as the peloton was about to swallow up the remaining members of the break. De Marchi was brought back as the peloton hit the first of three finishing laps with some 20 kilometres remaining, with the teams of the sprinters taking a leading role to try and set up their fast men for the finish.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC) launched a late attack with some 1,5 kilometres to go, disrupting the lead out trains a bit, but it was never going to stick as the sprinters and their teams had fought hard to be there after making it over all the climbs. Mezgec, who was well positioned behind Gaviria, opened up the sprint, but Gaviria proved too strong as he sprinted to his second stage win of the race, thereby extending his overall race lead. Mezgec held on for second, ahead of Kwiatkowski in third, with Heinrich Haussler (IAM) and Boy van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo) rounding out the top five.
Smith recorded another good finish, taking twelfth across the line in the same time as the stage winner, with James Oram (ONE Pro Cycling) finishing in the same bunch in 72 place, while Sam Bewley (Orica-Bike Exchange) finished just behind a large group that included Alex Dowsett and Elia Viviani..
In the overall classification, Gaviria now leads by 19 seconds, with Kwiatkowski in second, ahead of Diego Ulissi in third. Smith is the best placed Kiwi in 30th place, 35 seconds off the race lead.