Tour de Polgone stage 6 & 7: Four for Kittel as Sagan sneaks overall victory

Cycling is often a sport of seconds, and that was amply demonstrated in an exciting final two stages of the Tour of Poland. First defending champion Daniel Martin won stage six to take a three-second lead into the last day in Kraków, and then two second-place sprints by erstwhile yellow jersey Peter Sagan were enough – just – to move him back to the top step of the podium as the overall winner by six seconds. And it was also fitting that Marcel Kittel, the young German who held the race lead for the first three days, should complete the circle by winning the final sprint to take his fourth stage win.

Stage 6: Bukovina to Bukowina Tatrzańska, 207.7km

2010 champion Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) put in a succession of attacks in the closing kilometres which finally succeeded in netting him the stage win and also distancing the yellow jersey of Peter Sagan by enough to snatch the overall lead. The Irishman moved in front by three seconds ahead of the final stage in Kraków.

Ten riders formed the day’s breakaway, including Polish riders Jacek Morajko (CCC Polsat) and Michal Golaś (Vacansoleil-DCM). They built a maximum advantage of 5:25 before beginning to splinter, with Leopard-Trek’s Thomas Rohregger the last to be caught with 25km remaining.

Saxo Bank-SunGard then came to the front to force the pace, setting up their Polish rider Jarosław Marycz to launch himself clear on the penultimate descent of the day. He was subsequently joined by RadioShack’s Geoffroy Lequatre, but both were reeled in as Sky upped the pace.

The tempo was too much for Sagan, who slipped off the front group, prompting Martin to attack on the steepest section of the penultimate climb. Only Sky’s Peter Kennaugh was able to follow, but when Martin kicked again he too fell away and the Garmin leader crested the summit alone. However, with Liquigas teammate Vincenzo Nibali helping to pace Sagan back on the descent, Martin was quickly pulled back. CCC Polsat’s Marek Rutkiewicz then launched a kamikaze solo attack off the front, exceeding 100kph as he eked out an eight-second gap on the leaders’ group.

Martin's win moved him into the yellow jersey (image courtesy of Petit Brun/Flickr)

Inside the 3km mark, Martin kicked hard twice but could not shake off a gritty Sagan, who was riding like a man inspired by the yellow jersey on his shoulders. Both Rutkiewicz and the attacking Oliver Zaugg (Leopard-Trek) were caught before the last kilometre, where Sky’s Steve Cummings attacked and was allowed build a ten-second lead as the others watched each other and hesitated. It looked to be a winning advantage, but as the road kicked up in the final 500 metres the British rider faded dramatically as Vacansoleil’s Wouter Poels dashed off the front of the chasing group. Martin immediately responded, finally cracking Sagan as he streaked past the Dutchman to claim an easy victory. Poel’s teammate Marco Marcato beat Lampre’s Polish rider Przemysław Niemiec for third, and Sagan was in the second small group which followed them home.

The yellow jersey was 13 seconds down on Martin, who had started the day 20 seconds behind him. But after applying his ten-second stage winner’s bonus, the Irishman had stolen the race lead by the slim margin of three seconds.

Martin said afterwards that the stage win had been his first priority, with the yellow jersey being a bonus. He admitted that he might need some assistance to defend his lead, however:

I really gave it my all today. I attacked in order to win the stage; the leader’s yellow jersey comes as quite a surprise. It will be hard to hang on to it tomorrow but let’s see what happens. Sagan is faster than me, but on our team we have Haussler, who can bust a good sprint, so we’ll see.

The result meant that either Sagan or Marcato could yet snatch overall victory from Martin by winning the final stage in Kraków, leaving the Irishman hoping that his team’s sprinter Heinrich Haussler and others could help defend his position by preventing them from doing so.

Stage 6 result:

1. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) 5:41:05

2. Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) + 0:01

3. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) +0:04

4. Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-ISD) same time

5. Tiago Machado (RadioShack) +0:06

Stage 7: Kraków, 128km

In the end, a pair of second places at the intermediate and final sprints gave Peter Sagan the bonus seconds he needed to snatch back the yellow jersey at the death. Skil-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel completed a clean sweep of the four sprint stages in Kraków, but that was not enough to prevent 2010 winner Daniel Martin from missing out on his second overall win by the wafer-thin margin of six seconds.

The final stage saw the riders cover ten laps of Kraków with an intermediate sprint point coming 30km from the finish. An early break saw Jacek Morajko (CCC Polsat) – for the second day in a row – and Alexandr Pliuschin (Katusha) move clear of the peloton, although Morajko subsequently dropped back and Pliuschin was then joined by teammate Luca Paolini, Daniele Righi (Lampre) and Tomasz Marczyński (CCC Polsat).

In the end Sagan would not be denied (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

However, the quartet was always doomed to failure, as Liquigas and Vacansoleil moved to the front of the bunch to ensure that Sagan and Marco Marcato would have the opportunity to chase bonus seconds at the intermediate. They were duly swept up a kilometre from the sprint. Garmin sent Heinrich Haussler to contest the sprint to protect Martin’s lead, and as Sagan attempted to squeeze between him and the barrier on the inside of a right-hand bend Haussler gently closed the door, leading to much remonstrating from the Slovakian after he had beaten across the line, with Marcato third. At the time, that left Sagan a single second adrift of Martin, although the commissaires would later promote Sagan to joint-first, gifting both him and Marcato a bonus second.

In the lull after the sprint, Marczyński and Nelson Oliveira (Radioshack) attacked off the front. With Sagan and Marcato still focussed on the possibility of the overall win, this was always going to be no more than one last futile gesture, but the pair built up a lead of 1:18 before the peloton led by Sky and supported by Liquigas and Skil-Shimano stepped it up a notch and brought them back in at lesiure, with Marczyński finally succumbing at the 2km banner.

Into the final kilometre, Liquigas controlled the front of the bunch for Sagan, but it was Astana’s Simon Clarke who was the first to open up with a long-range attack. He was soon overhauled by HTC-Highroad’s Leigh Howard‘s better-timed effort but Kittel, sitting on his wheel with Sagan immediately behind him, was able to pick his moment and power his way to his fourth victory of the week. Sagan followed his slipstream to second a length behind, with Howard a further 1½ lengths behind in third. Haussler could only finish fourth.

Both stage and overall winner punched the air as they crossed the line, completing outstanding weeks for the two men who won six out of seven stages and led for all but one day between them. Martin had to settle for second overall, six seconds down and just one ahead of Marcato in third.

The 21-year old Sagan is only in his second season as a pro, but has already proven himself to be a top talent, winning stages at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, the Tour of California, the Tour of Sardinia and the Tour de Suisse before this week’s success. He will be a major threat to claim a maiden Grand Tour stage win at the Vuelta a España, which starts in two weeks’ time – look for him on flat stages which require power as well as outright speed.

After confirming his overall win, he said:

This is one of the greatest successes of my career. I had doubts over whether or not I would be able to get back the yellow jersey that I lost yesterday. For me, the race was training for the Vuelta — but to win it, that’s not too bad.

In addition to the overall, Sagan also won the points competition ahead of Marcato and Kittel. Vacansoleil’s Michał Gołaś ensured there was a Pole on the final podium by winning the mountains classification.

Stage 7 result:

1. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 2:50:00

2. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) same time

3. Leigh Howard (HTC-Columbia) s/t

4. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) s/t

5. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) s/t

General classification:

1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) 26:40:00

2. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) +0:06

3. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) +0:07

4. Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) +0:23

5. Peter Kennaugh (Sky) +0:25

Points classification:

1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) 99 pts

2. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) 89

3. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 80

Mountains classification:

1. Michał Gołaś (Vacansoleil-DCM) 85 pts

2. Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia) 47

3. Ruslan Pidgornyy (Vacansoleil-DCM) 45

Links: Official website

Tour de Pologne recaps

Stages 1-3: Kittel dominates with sprint hat-trick

Stage 4 & 5: Sagan’s power gives his rivals double vision

Tour de Polgone stage 4 & 5: Sagan’s power gives his rivals double vision

Marcel Kittel‘s three-day tenure of the yellow jersey was ended as Peter Sagan took charge of the Tour of Poland with a pair of commanding victories at the end of tricky hilly stages in which he proved to be the most powerful finisher on the uphill sprints.

The Slovakian Liquigas-Cannondale rider now leads by 15 seconds, with defending champion Daniel Martin fourth at 20 seconds ahead of tomorrow’s (Friday) key stage, the only summit finish in this year’s race.

Stage 4: Oświęcim to Cieszyn, 176.9km

Liquigas’s Peter Sagan powered clear of the field in the final 600 metres of an uphill, cobbled finish in Cieszyn to take a dominant victory which moved him into the overall leader’s yellow jersey. Defending champion Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) was a strong second, signalling his intention not to give up his crown without a fight.

As usual, the day’s breakaway featured representatives of the two Polish teams. Bartłomiej Matysiak (CCC Polsat-Polkowice) and Kamil Gradik (Reprezentacja Polski) were joined by the obligatory De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia rider – here it was the turn of Federico Rocchetti – and BMC’s Chad Beyer.

With the peloton closing to within striking distance inside the last 60km, Beyer soloed away from his companions on the third ascent of the first category Kubalonka climb. Moldovan champion Alexandr Pliuschin (Katuasha) bridged across to him from the peloton and the pair worked together until Pliuschin eventually went clear just before the concluding three 6.3km loops of Cieszyn.

Sagan showed his strength with an impressive late burst (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Astana’s Simon Clarke eventually attacked off the front of the peloton, catching and passing Pliuschin to build a 26-second lead with two laps left. However, with the peloton pounding out a hard tempo and several riders keen to launch attacks of their own, the Australian was easily caught at the start of the final circuit.

Saxo Bank-Sungard’s Jarosław Marycz was the next to have a go, but Liquigas-Cannondale quickly pulled him back in, setting up an uphill attack by Vincenzo Nibali inside the final 5km as part of a plan to put stress on Sagan’s rivals. The rest of the peloton upped their pace to reel him in, but at the cost of stringing them out into a long and tiring line entering the final kilometre.

On the leg-sapping, bone-jarring cobbled climb to the finish, Sagan kicked hard off the front of the bunch at about 600 metres and immediately pulled out a stage-winning advantage. With everyone else reduced to racing for second, 2010 winner Dan Martin proved to be the best of the rest, leading Vacansoleil’s Marco Marcato and Rabobank’s Peter Martens across the line three seconds behind Sagan.

Sagan said afterwards that the uphill finish – which was similar to the two stages he won at June’s Tour de Suisse – suited his powerful style well:

This finish was suited to my skills. I’m in good shape so this morning in the team we decided to race for me and to try to win. I have to thank my team mates and especially Nibali; they all did an extraordinary job to make the cut in the final circuit.

I’m happy with this victory; it’s a result that boosts my confidence as I look ahead to the Vuelta a España, where I’m counting on doing well. Now I’m going to try to defend this yellow jersey, even if there are still two very difficult stages. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow. It will not be easy, particularly as the day after tomorrow is a stage for real climbers, but I will try to defend.

Victory moved Sagan into the yellow jersey which Skil-Shimano sprinter Marcel Kittel had worn for three days. However, with Martin just seven seconds behind and nearly 40 others – several of them climbers – within 20 seconds, Sagan will be hard pressed to defend his lead all the way to Saturday’s closing stage.

Stage 4 result:

1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) 4:21:15

2. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) +0:03

3. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) same time

4. Paul Martens (Rabobank) s/t

5. Fabian Wegmann (Leopard-Trek) s/t

Stage 5: Zakopane, 201.5km

The kick-up at the finish was not as steep as yesterday’s stage but the result was the same. Peter Sagan again proved too strong for his rivals, using Romain Feillu‘s long-range sprint as a sighter for his own effort on a day when the race unfolded perfectly for him.

The day’s 202km route consisted of five laps of a circuit starting and finishing in Zakopane, with each lap containing a first followed by a second category climb. The day’s key break comprised Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Vasil Kiryienka (Movistar), Ruslan Pidgornyy (Vacansoleil-DCM), Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) and Mateusz Taciak (CCC Polsat-Polkowice). The five men pulled out an advantage of close to six minutes but eventually began to break apart until only Pidgornyy remained out in front at 50km to go with a lead of 1:40.

Lampre-ISD moved to the front to set up a counter-attack by two of their riders, Simon Špilak and Diego Ulissi. The pair were joined by Katusha’s Giampaolo Caruso, making the junction to the Ukrainian leader and forming a new group of four which was allowed to maintain an advantage of around 40 seconds for a while.

About a third of the way around the final 40km lap, Vacansoleil’s Wouter Poels attacked off the front of the bunch, catching the leaders and continuing straight over the top. He was reeled in within a few kilometres, only for CCC Polsat’s Marek Rutkiewicz to break free on the descent from the first category Głodówka climb. He too was pulled back just inside 10km as Liquigas sent their train to the front to protect the position of the yellow jersey Sagan.

A handful of speculative attacks in the final 6km broke up the rhythm and organisation of the bunch, but under the 1km banner Sky took control of the pace trying to set up Peter Kennaugh. Feillu then took his flyer at around 500 metres, catching everyone by surprise as he opened up what looked like being a decisive gap. But the distance was too great and the final gradient a little too taxing. Sagan kicked hard, passing the fading Frenchman as if he was standing still and leading Michael Matthews (Rabobank) across the line by a good four lengths.

The ten-second bonus extended Sagan’s overall lead to 15 seconds on a day on which he benefitted from a lack of hard, coordinated attacks on the climbs and was able to set up for the finish at the front of the bunch. He will find the going more difficult on tomorrow’s stage from Bukovina, the hardest in this year’s race featuring 11 first-category climbs before a summit finish at Bukowina Tatrzańska, as he himself acknowledged after winning his second stage in as many days:

Tomorrow’s stage is really hard, there are more than 4,000 metres of altitude change. I’m definitely not a climber but I’m going to try and hang in there. Then I’m going to give it my all at the finish and we’ll see how it goes.

I have to try. I can’t miss this chance.

However, given the unremitting vertical nature of tomorrow’s parcours and a tough concluding climb to the finish, we are likely to see the yellow jersey change hands again. Whoever wears it tomorrow evening will be heavily favoured to defend it on Saturday’s flat final stage.

Stage 5 result:

1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) 4:52:26

2. Michael Matthews (Rabobank) same time

3. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) s/t

4. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) s/t

5. Peter Kennaugh (Sky) s/t

General classification:

1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) 18:08:51

2. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) +0:15

3. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) +0:17

4. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) +0:20

5. Luca Paolini (Katusha) +0:23

Points classification:

1. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) 77 pts

2. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) 75

3. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 60

Mountains classification:

1. Ruslan Pidgornyy (Vacansoleil-DCM) 45pts

2. Bartłomiej Matysiak (CCC Polsat-Polkowice) 33

3. Mateusz Taciak (CCC Polsat-Polkowice) 28

Links: Official website

Tour de Pologne recaps

Stages 1-3: Kittel dominates with sprint hat-trick

Tour de Polgone stages 1-3: Kittel dominates with sprint hat-trick

The seven-day Tour of Poland got under way on Sunday with the first of three flat stages before heading for the climbs in the second half of the race. 2010 winner Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) is back in search of a second victory against a decent field which includes Vincenzo Nibali (who is preparing to defend his Vuelta a España crown), Michele Scarponi, Danilo Di Luca and Tom Boonen.

Each of the opening three stages predictably ended in a bunch sprint, and all three were won by Skil-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel, yet another rising German sprinter, who dispatched his rivals with impressive ease on each occasion.

Stage 1: Pruszków to Warszawa, 101.5km

23-year old Marcel Kittel gave the Pro Continental Skil-Shimano squad its first ever World Tour victory in Warsaw. The German neo-pro comfortably beat BMC’s Alexander Kristoff and Quick Step’s Francesco Chicchi in a chaotic bunch sprint.

The short 101.5km opening stage from Pruszków culminated in eight 8km circuits in the Polish capital. A six-man break featured two Polish riders, Bartłomiej Matysiak (CCC Polsat-Polkowice) and Adrian Kurek (Reprezentacja Polski), alongside Carlos Oyarzun (Movistar), Rodriges Argueles (Katusha), Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Fabio Piscopiello (De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia).

Kittel claimed both his and his team's first World Tour victory

With six laps remaining, the sextet commanded a lead of just over two minutes on the chasing peloton, who always had the gap under control. The break’s advantage dwindled from 1:16 with three laps left to a mere 24 seconds next time around, and the catch was completed around 10km out.

In a chaotic final 3km, first HTC-Highroad and then Liquigas – for Leigh Howard and Peter Sagan respectively – attempted to bring some order to the front of the peloton, but the battle for position soon descended into chaos and Kittel emerged from the tangled mess to easily hold Kristoff at bay by a full bike length, with the fast-finishing Chicchi a further length behind.

Kittel has already had an impressive debut season, having won a stage and the overall at the Delta Tour Zeeland, four stages at the Four Days of Dunkirk and a stage at the Tour of Langkawi, but this represented a maiden win at World Tour level for both him and his team, which have been competing since 2005.

Kittel promised to defend the leader’s yellow jersey for as long as possible:

I have had a good season and I’m in good shape. But the race ends with a tough stage in the mountains.

It’s a nice feeling to go in wearing the leader’s jersey, and certainly we will defend it as long as possible. But it will be extremely difficult.

Although some way from being a Grand Tour-level sprint field Kittel’s final burst was nonetheless impressive, and a list of scalps which includes 22-year old fellow German John Degenkolb (winner of two stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné) and seasoned campaigners such as Chicchi, Tom Boonen and Heinrich Haussler is no small achievement for a young neo-pro. He is certainly one to watch for the future, and with cycling’s transfer window now open he is sure to catch the eye of Pro Tour teams looking to boost their sprint roster.

Stage 1 result:

1. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 2:07:26

2. Alexander Kristoff (BMC) same time

3. Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step) s/t

4. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) s/t

5. Michele Merlo (De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia) s/t

Stage 2: Częstochowa to Dąbrowa Górnicza, 162km

Marcel Kittel repeated his stage one heroics and successfully defended his yellow jersey after a crash inside the final 3km decimated the peloton, leaving only 30 riders to contest the finish.

You could have been forgiven for mistaking stage two for stage one, as the break-away included three men – Bartłomiej MatysiakAdrian Kurek and Pierre Cazaux  – who had also featured in the previous day’s break. They were joined by Paolo Bailetti, as Ceramica Flaminia opted for a different participant in the escape group.

The quartet built a lead of nearly five minutes, with Kurek winning two of the three intermediate sprints to put him in the virtual lead of the race before the peloton whittled down their advantage to just 41 seconds as they started the first of four concluding 5.6km laps and swallowed them up just before the beginning of the penultimate lap.

The sprinters’ teams jostled for position entering the closing kilometres, but with just over 2km to go an Astana rider pulled across the road near the front of the peloton and the green jersey of Alexander Kristoff and a handful of other riders came down in the resultant confusion behind. Most of the peloton were able to stop and safely negotiate their way around the crash, but this left only a small group of around 30 to contest the final sprint.

With Skil-Shimano teammates available to help drive the lead-out in the final 500 metres, Kittel was able to follow Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) as he opened up the sprint early, before springing off his wheel with a powerful burst to beat the Australian rider by more than two bike lengths. Rabobank’s Graeme Brown was third.

The ten-second bonus for the win meant Kittel retained the overall lead, seven seconds ahead of Kurek. After the stage, the yellow jersey said:

I’m thrilled. I was already happy for yesterday’s victory and to manage a replay on this finish line today is really an indescribable joy.

Once again today I must thank my team mates for having set me up in the perfect conditions to go for an excellent final sprint.

Another day, another win for Kittel. Both the manner and margin of this victory were even more assured than on stage one, albeit against a smaller field. He selected the right wheel to follow in Haussler, then demonstrated the patience to hold his sprint until the right moment. Impressive stuff.

Stage 2 result:

1. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 3:38:35

2. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) same time

3. Graeme Brown (Rabobank) s/t

4. Caleb Fairly (HTC-Highroad) s/t

5. John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) s/t

Stage 3: Będzin to Katowice, 135.7km

Kittel completed a clean sweep of the opening three stages with yet another dominant performance in the bunch sprint in Katowice. Victory extended his lead in the general classification to 17 seconds ahead of the first hilly stage tomorrow.

As has become a familiar pattern this week, the two Polish teams CCC Polsat-Polkowice and Reprezentacja Polski, Euskaltel-Euskadi and De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia were represented in the day’s breakaway, as Łukasz Bodnar, Piotr GawroskiDaniel Sesma and Gianluca Maggiore respectively were joined by Katusha’s Arkimedes Arguelyes. The five-man group built a lead of five minutes until Kittel’s Skil-Shimano squad started to bring down the gap as the peloton started eight 11.2km loops of Katowice.

With four laps remaining, the deficit was exactly two minutes and the break was slowly reeled in with almost metronomic accuracy: 1:30 with three laps to go. 1:01 at two laps and finally 25 seconds as they started the final lap. By then an impatient Bodnar had jumped away from his breakaway companions in a futile attempt to escape the catch, but with Omega Pharma-Lotto driving hard at the front he was brought back early on the last circuit.

Vacansoleil, working for their sprinter Romain Feillu, lent their weight to the pace-making to prevent any late counter-attacks, as the peloton – keen to avoid a repeat of the previous day’s crash – organised itself for the final sprint more efficiently than had been the case so far in the race. Under the 1km banner first Omega Pharma and then HTC-Highroad  moved up to the front, looking to pilot Adam Blyth and John Degenkolb into position, with the yellow jersey of Kittel looming ominously just behind.

Degenkolb was the first to blink, stamping on the pedals and manhandling his bike with his signature physical style. However, his jump was far too early on the uphill finish and as he started to fade Kittel squeezed between him and the barrier – brushing an over-enthusiastic spectator as he did so – and pulled away from the entire field to win by an easy two lengths. In a blanket finish, Feillu nosed ahead of Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Giacomo Nizzolo (Leopard-Trek) and Blyth to sneak second spot.

Understandably, Kittel was running out of ways to describe the thrill of winning for the third day in a row:

I’m thrilled with this victory. The stage was the hardest one of the three so far. The team was tired after the hard work they did the first two days, but they were great today, too. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the faith they have in me. It was a super-fast final sprint – my bike’s computer surpassed 78 kph!

As the race heads into the mountains, he admitted his focus will now be on the green jersey points competition – in which he leads Feillu, 60 points to 50 – rather than the yellow jersey:

In the next stages I’m going to be especially careful to survive the mountains and I’m going to try to help my teammates whenever I can. The points jersey? Let’s see how these next three days go and then we can talk about that.

After three flat opening days for the sprinters, the focus now shifts to the overall contenders with three successive mountain stages ahead of Saturday’s finale in Kraków. Kittel’s three days of glory are now over. It is time for the overall contenders to step forward.

Stage 3 result:

1. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 3:09:29

2. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) same time

3. Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s/t

4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Leopard-Trek) s/t

5. Adam Blyth (Omega Pharma-Lotto) s/t

General classification:

1. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 8:55:00

2. Adrian Kurek (Reprezentacja Polski) +0:17

3. Gianluca Maggiore (De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia) +0:22

4. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) +0:24

5. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) +0:24

Points classification:

1. Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) 60 pts

2. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) 50

3. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) 40

Mountains classification:

1. Bartłomiej Matysiak (CCC Polsat-Polkowice) 6 pts

2. Paolo Bailetti (De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia) 4

3. Michał Gołaś (Vacansoleil-DCM) 3

Links: Official website

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