Lars-Petter Nordhaug was right in the mix towards the end of the gruelling penultimate stage of the Tour of Poland, and battled to eighth place after Bauke Mollema has claimed his late solo triumph.
The Norwegian was one of only a handful of riders left in contention after almost 220km of heavily-undulating action but neither he, nor anyone else in that elite lead group could match Mollema when he broke clear three kilometres from home.
The Rabobank rider gave it all he had on the long drag up to the finish line and ended the day seven seconds ahead of Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia) and Grega Bole (Lampre). Nordhaug was just two seconds further adrift and clocked the same time as yellow jersey holder Daniel Martin (Garmin), who narrowly pipped him to seventh.
Martin's display ensured he stayed top of the general classification, but his advantage over Bole was cut to eight seconds. Nordhaug's performance meanwhile, lifted him to 19th overall, two minutes and two seconds off the pace.
The day had begun solemnly with wreaths being laid at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and a large crash had also occurred before the first break was able to make it away.
Mathew Hayman infiltrated that group, and the five riders had opened up a two-minute advantage in the pouring conditions when three further riders attempted to join them. It was a feat the trio would eventually manage, and with their ranks boosted the break's lead would swell to a maximum of eight minutes.
Mikhail Khalilov (Katusha) was the first rider to fall by the wayside on the brutal second climb of the day, and as the group's lead diminished further, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) jumped clear of his accomplices and pressed on alone.
All eight riders had been hauled back with half an hour to go though and Marek Rutkiewicz (Poland) was the next rider to make his solo bid for glory. He would also be caught on the final 11.8km loop, and it was soon after that that Mollema injected his own turn of pace which would ultimately yield the stage victory.
Ljungqvist leaves happy
Sports director Marcus Ljungqvist was travelling home to Sweden when we caught up with him after the stage, but he was keen to stress how impressed he had been by the team's performance during the past six days.
He said: "It was a really hard stage today with some really steep climbs, and the bad weather certainly didn't help matters either, but Lars-Petter is showing his form and looking really strong.
"Everyone in the team is riding well though, they have been doing all week, and it was great to see Mat Hayman in the break again earlier in the stage. Those steep climbs weren't really to his liking, but he rode them well nonetheless."
Dan Hunt will take over the reigns from Ljungqvist on the final stage of the tour, which sees the riders travel 163.9km from Nowy Targ to Kraków.