First UCI World Tour race of 2017 season for CCC Sprandi Polkowice is around the corner. “Riders in orange” will take part in the very demanding and hilly Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (March 20th – 28th).
For us it will be another opportunity to gain experience in the World Tour event. Just by looking at the profiles we can expect extremely tough race. In addition to that the quality of riders at the start will be exceptional and it may be hard to battle for top GC places. We will try to showcase our orange colors on particular stages though and in the team time trial, which will be very important to us. It will be valuable test of form and good place to learn some lessons for the Giro d’Italia – says Piotr Wadecki, DS of CCC Sprandi Polkowice.
Polkowice-based squad has very good memories from this event, since two years ago the team claimed there one of the biggest success in its history. Maciej Paterski won the opening stage and for the next two days was wearing the leader jersey. The 30-year old rider is part of the 8-man roster for this year’s edition too and is very eager to repeat that result. He has proven that his form is in the right place, finishing twice in the top 10 recently (on the stage of Ruta del Sol and in Clasica del Almeria).
Felix Grosschartner who took 11th in Ciclista a la Region de Murcia, great climber Jan Hirt and always solid Łukasz Owsian will also be riders to watch during the Catalonian race. They will be supported by Mateusz Taciak, Leszek Pluciński, Piotr Brożyna and Patryk Stosz.
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2017 consists of 7 stages. The opening one is almost a copy of the stage, on which Maciej Paterski recorded his most memorable win of his career, taking advantage of the fact, that nobody in the bunch was willing to control the race. The peloton will start and finish in Capella, cresting six KOMs (two of which are cat. 1). The next day the riders will take on 41,3-kilometer team time trial, with undulating and technical course. Stage 3 will feature much harder climbs, as three cat. 1 ascent have been planned out for the final 70km of racing (the last one is just before the finish line).
The initial 80km of the next stage will be one of the fastest in race’s history, since it’s all downhill from the start. Then it gets tougher due to few hills, but it’s likely that the winner will come out out of a bigger group.
It definitely won’t be the case on stage 5 to La Port. It ends with a devastating 8,4km climb, with an average 9% and max. 20% of incline and 700 meters of elevation. It won’t be easy to get to the bottom of the slope either, because of a 12-kilometer uphill (but not as steep) stretch. On this day big time gaps should occur and only the best climbers will be in the contention.
Next stage will cause almost as much suffering, as there are no flat parts on the course and 4 categorized climbs. Whoever stays in the front group up until the top of the last ascent (cat.1 – Alt de la Musara), with 40km to go, will have a chance to turn the effort into the stage win in Reus.
One week of racing will be wrapped in Barcelona. The final kilometers will run on a circuit with Montjuic hill and it will be tackled 8 times. We can expect fast finish in the capital of Catalonia, but late attackers can’t be ruled out either.
Race program (daily broadcast live on Eurosport 1)
Stage 1 – Calella – Calella (178,9km)
Stage 2 (TTT) – Banyoles – Banyoles (41,3km)
Stage 3 – Mataró – La Molina (188,3km)
Stage 4 – Llívia – Igualada (194,3km)
Stage 5 – Valls – Lo Port (Tortosa) (182km)
Stage 6 – Tortosa – Reus (189,7km)
Stage 7 – Barcelona – Barcelona (138,7km)
Lineup of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (20th-28th of March, 2.UWT): Maciej Paterski, Jan Hirt, Łukasz Owsian, Felix Grossschartner, Patryk Stosz, Leszek Pluciński, Mateusz Taciak, Piotr Brożyna