After winning everything that was to win in last year’s Tour of Croatia – general, mountains, points classification, two stages – CCC Sprandi Polkowice is returning to this stage event with ambitious approach.
The program and profile of 2016 edition has been modified comparing to 2015. The race has been extended by one day and team time trial has been added.
The competition will start with two super-long stages. They will be relatively flat, but the 230- and 240-kilometer distance will take their toll on the riders’ legs. Third day of racing won’t be short either, as there is 190 undulating kilometers to cover.
After that the race will enter the high mountains. The “queen stage” is only 122 kilometers long, but the final 22 are all uphill. The last 8 kilometers are expected to cause the most suffering, as the gradient will exceed 15%.
Last year the race was also decided on the Ucka climb, but the stage was nearly 2-times longer back then (230km). This is where Maciej Paterski soloed to victory and took the overall lead. In total 5 “riders in orange” reached the summit in top 11.
Team time trial will be held the day after the battle of climbers. 40 kilometers of team effort should be enough for some riders to either make up the time lost in the mountains or lose the advantage gained on the slopes.
The 6-day event will be wrapped up with a flat stage, with short and hilly lap in the center of Zagreb. Last time when the peloton visited the capital of Croatia, Maciej Paterski was the fastest man at the line and Felix Grossscharter, who at the time was racing for another team, finished 2nd.
Those two riders will be competing also this year. Good climbers, such as Victor de la Parte and Łukasz Owsian made the roster as well. The sprinters will also have their chances, and on those days with flat stages, Simone Ponzi will aim to deliver top result for the squad.
This year it will very hard to repeat Maciej Paterski’s results. There will be few of the UCI World Tour teams at the start line and they will want to control the bunch.
Lineup of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for Tour of Croatia (2.1, 19-24.04): Maciej Paterski, Simone Ponzi, Felix Grossscharter, Victor de la Parte, Adrian Honkisz, Marcin Mrożek, Łukasz Owsian, Josef Cerny.
The race will be broadcasted by Eurosport 2 (live) and Eurosport 1 (highlights).
Program of the race
Stage 1 – Osijek – Varazdin (230,4km)
Stage 2 – NP Plitvice – Split (240km)
Stage 3 – Makarska – Sibenik (190,8km)
Stage 4 – Crikvenica – Ucka (122,1km)
Stage 5 (TTT) – Porec – Umag (40,3km)
Stage 6 – Sveti Martin – Zagreb (158,5km)