Michal Kwiatkowski praised his Team Sky team-mates after securing overall victory at the Tour of Poland on Friday.
Riding on home roads, Kwiatkowski finished sixth behind Britain’s Simon Yates on the final stage in Bukowina Tatrzanska to keep hold of the yellow jersey by only 15 seconds.
Kwiatkowski’s lead looked under threat inside the last 15km of the hilly closing stage, but good work from Pavel Sivakov and latterly Sergio Henao kept Yates’ lead down to a manageable level.
Yates would eventually finish the stage 12 seconds in front of the peloton, enough to lift him into second place overall ahead of France’s Thibaut Pinot.
Kwiatkowski had been one of Geraint Thomas’ chief lieutenants in the Tour de France but he was able to step up as team leader in Poland to win his home tour for the first time.
He said: “That’s the Tour of Poland – you know you are going to be fighting right up until the end of the race.
“We didn’t panic as a team. It’s amazing having such a strong team here in the race. Without the boys I would not have been able to defend the jersey. Yesterday and today they rode amazing stages and I’m really thankfully to all the guys.
“It started off at the beginning with (Lukasz) Wisniowski, Yogi (Ian Stannard) and Michal Golas, then Salvatore Puccio. Then at the end Sergio Henao and Pavel Sivakov were incredibly strong.
“Considering how long this race is I was on my own for only a few kilometres at the end. It’s a difficult scenario when you don’t quite know the gap to the front, but also you don’t want to lose positions at the finish. At the end of the day everything worked out perfectly and I’m so happy.”