For some riders of CCC Sprandi Polkowice Tour of Croatia will be an important build-up race ahead of Giro d’Italia. The Croatian stage event kicks off on April 18th and consists of 6 stages.
Most of the squad for this race spent few weeks on a high altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. Thus, their form in Tour of Croatia will largely depend on how their organisms react to that kind of preparation. We’re hoping that training in Span will have a positive impact on them and they will be able to go for top results in the GC – Piotr Wadecki, DS of CCC Sprandi Polkowice said. – This year’s edition is going to be very demanding, due to two mountain top finishes. For that reason we have selected our top climbers, such as Jan Hirt, Michal Schlegel and Felix Grossschartner.
That trio, as well as Leszek Pluciński, Marcin Białobłocki and Łukasz Owsian, have all taken part in the training camp in the Spanish mountains and will race in Croatia. They will be joined by Nikolay Mihaylov and Branislau Samoilau.
The six-day event will open with a sprinter stage. The next day the riders will tackle arguable the hardest climb of the race – 25-kilometer long ascent to Biokovo (Saint George, sv. Juri) with an average gradient of 6,5% and max. of 14%. The climbing will start almost at the sea level and end 1700m above.
Third day of racing will be the longest one, as there are 237km on the menu. First part of that course is quite undulating (three KOMs), while the second flattens out. The distance and hills early on should take their toll on riders’ legs though.
The configuration of stage 4 will be similar, with just one difference – instead of 237, there are just 171km to cover.
The second of the most decisive and hardest stages will be held on a penultimate day of the competition. This is when the peloton will face mountain top finish to Ucka (almost 15km long, summit at around 1000 m above the sea level), the climb which will be also tackled from a different side halfway through the stage.
Tour of Croatia will be wrapped up in Zagreb and the stage’s finale will consists of two laps on the technical, often paved with cobbled roads of the capital city. The finish is not suited to pure sprinters, as the final 200m go uphill.
The entire race will be broadcast by Eurosport 2: from Tuesday to Friday the TV coverage will start at 15:30 (“live”), on Saturday there will be a rerun, and on Sunday the coverage will start at 14:00 (“live”).
18 April, Stage 1 – Osijek – Koprivnica (227km)
19 April, Stage 2 – Trogir – Biokovo (sv. Jure) (123km)
20 April, Stage 3- Imotski – Zadar (237km)
21 April, Stage 4 – Crikvenica – Umag (171km)
22 April, Stage 5 – Porec – Ucka (141km)
23 April, Stage 6 – Samobor – Zagreb (147km)
Lineup of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for Tour of Croatia (2.1, 18-23.04): Jan Hirt, Michal Schlegel, Marcin Białobłocki, Nikolay Mihaylov, Branislau Samoilau, Felix Grossschartner, Leszek Pluciński, Łukasz Owsian