The key race of the 2018 season for CCC Sprandi Polkowice is just around the corner. The team has named a well-balanced lineup for this event, with riders who are capable of contesting the GC, sprint stages and can make their presence known in the breakaways.
Our guys spent few weeks at high altitude training camp in Livigno and afterwards they got some race rhythm back either in Mazovia Tour or World Tour event in London. Currently they are polishing their form in Ząb. Thus, they should be well prepared to compete against world’s best teams – DS of CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Piotr Wadecki explains.
Paweł Cieślik and Amaro Antunes will be our leaders for general classification, so they will focus on mountain stages, to Szczyrk and Bukowina Tatrzańska. Paweł has taken part in few Tour de Pologne editions in the past and has proven than he can go head-to-head against best riders in the pack.
Łukasz Owsian and Jan Tratnik are known for their ability to escape in hilly terrain and if they get some space, they are very hard to catch, even by a strong bunch.
Paweł Franczak will eye first three, flat stages, around Kraków, to Katowice and to Zabrze, which are expected to end with a field sprint. In the finale he can count on Michał Paluta and Kamil Gradek. These two will want to showcase themselves in the breakaways too. Kamil has some experience with that, as he won the most combative classification, two years back.
2018 Tour de Pologne will kick off in Kraków, with the start and finish venue in this former capital of Poland. It should be the sprinters who will shine there and that should continue for the next two days, when riders will finish first in Katowice and then in Zabrze. Sprint by Spodek arena is known in cycling world for the speed recorded at the line, as the finishing straight goes gently downhill.
First test in the mountains will take place on stage 4, from Jaworzno to Szczyrk. The peloton will tackle cat. 1 climbs to Zameczek i Salmopol twice, before facing a punchy finish. Stage 5 is the opportunity for escapees, due to undulating terrain. For GC guys it will be important to ride attentively, so they don’t lose any valuable seconds.
Overall standings will be decided on the final two days of racing. The penultimate stage from Zakopane to Bukowina Tatrzańskia features as many as 12 KOMs, including four cat. 1 to Rzepiska, as well as another finish on a sharp hill.
Rzepiska climb will be also on the menu of the last stage of the race, around Bukowina Tatrzańska (that day the field will crest the top twice). Other highest categorized climbs, such as Gliczarów, famous for its steepness, or almost as hard Sierockie, will await the riders. The toughness and frequency of those hills will make racing incredible hard and should shatter the field in pieces.
Update: Due to torn calf muscle, injury sustained just before the race, Amaro Antunes was replaced by Michal Schlegel.
75th edition of Tour de Pologne:
4 August, Stage 1 – Krakow – Krakow (134km)
5 August, Stage 2 – Tarnowskie Gory – Katowice (156km)
6 August, Stage 3 – Stadion Slaski – Zabrze (139km)
7 August, Stage 4 – Jaworzno – Szczyrk (179km)
8 August, Stage 5 – Kopalnia Soli – Bielsko-Biala (152km)
9 August, Stage 6 – Zakopane – Bukovina Resort (129km)
10 August, Stage 7 – Bukowvina Resort – Bukowina Tatrzańska(136km)
CCC Sprandi Polkowice to Tour de Pologne (2.UWT, July 29th): Jan Tratnik, Michal Schlegel, Paweł Cieślik, Paweł Franczak, Kamil Gradek, Łukasz Owsian, Michał Paluta,