„Orange squad” to defend their titles in Tour of Austria and Sibiu Tour

CCC Sprandi Polkowice will defend titles in two upcoming stage races – Tour of Austria (2.HC, 2-8.07) and Sibiu Cycling Tour (2.1, 5-9.07).

The former was won by Jan Hirt and the latter by Nikolay Mihaylov. Unfortunately due to very busy and exhausting schedule lately, with Giro d’Italia and Tour de Suisse, 26-year old Czech won’t start in this year’s edition of the Austrian event, but he will have a worthy replacement. His talented countryman, Michal Schlegel, 12th in youth classification of the Italian Grand Tour will take on the race, as well as strong in the mountains Felix Grossschartner and Leszek Pluciński.

Marcin Mrożek, Patryk Stosz, Michał Paluta and Jakub Kaczmarek are expected to ride aggressively, in the breakaways, while Tour of Slovakia winner, Jan Tratnik is eying undulating stages and short uphill prologue to Schlossberg in Graz.

Tour of Austria is a race that suits climbers, but also classic riders and sprinters who can cope with slightly harder terrain.

Stage 1, 3 and 6 will most likely end with a bunch gallop. Stage 2 however features three 13-kilometer laps in the finale, with cat. 2 climb, so the sprinters’ chances are very slim on that day. The GC favorites will play out their first real battle on stage 4, with a mountain top finish to Kitzbüheler Horn. It’s only 82,7 kilometers long, but the last 8-9 rise steeply. The following day will be even harder, with 211km to cover, as well as HC, cat. 1 and cat 2 (twice) climbs. After cresting the last summit, long descent awaits and 50-kilometer stretch towards the finish. The finale is “bumpy” and features punchy finish.

Four World Tour teams will participate in Tour of Austria – Katusha-Alpecin, Cannondale-Drapac, Astana and Dimension Data.

Lineup of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria (2.HC, 2-8.07): Michal Schlegel, Felix Grossschartner, Jan Tratnik, Leszek Pluciński, Michał Paluta, Patryk Stosz, Jakub Kaczmarek, Marcin Mrożek

Race program

2 July, Prologue – Graz – Schlossberg (0,8km)

3 July, Stage 1 – Graz – Wien (193,8km)

4 July, Stage 2 – Wieselburg – Pöggstall (199,6km)

5 July, Stage 3 – Wieselburg – Altheim (226,2km)

6 July, Stage 4 – Salzburg – Kitzbüheler Horn (82,7km)

7 July, Stage 5 – Kitzbühel – St. Johann – Alpenbdorf(212,5km)

8 July, Stage 6 – St. Johann – Alpenbdorf – Wels (203,9km)

2017 edition of Sibiu Cycling Tour is quite similar to last year’s.  Thus, there are two stages on the program which end with long and steep climbs – 23-kilometer long Balea Lac (avg. 6,18%)  and 15-kilometer Paltinis (avg. 5,5%). They await the riders on stages 2 and 3 respectively. Especially the latter will be very tiring, as it’s 211 kilometers long and the final climb won’t be the only one that day.

Stage 1 and 4 are undulating  and they may either finish with a bunch sprint or an arrival of a small breakaway.  To open the Romanian race a short prologue will be held on the streets of Sibiu, the city which will host the start of all 5 stages.

Nikolay Mihaylov will line up in Sibiu, as the defending 2016 overall winner. He claimed that success after triumphing on Paltinis and taking 5th place in TT to Balae Lac. He will be joined by Maciej Paterski and Łukasz Owsian, who performed extremely well in the recent stage and one-day races in Poland, including the Nationals.  Even though Marcin Białobłocki prefers longer time trials, he should be the man to watch on the opening prologue, while Simone Ponzi should be among the fastest in the sprints.  Jonas Koch’s task will be to showcase the “orange squad” in the breakaways and help the team leaders.

Lineup of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for Sibiu Cycling Tour (2.1, 5-9.07): Nikolay Mihaylov, Łukasz Owsian, Maciej Paterski, Simone Ponzi, Marcin Białobłocki, Jonas Koch.

Race program

5 July, Prologue – Sibiu – Sibiu (2.2km)

6 July, Stage 1 – Sibiu – Sibiu (200km)

7 July, Stage 2 – Sibiu – Bâlea Lac (157km)

8 July, Stage 3 – Sibiu – Paltinis (205km)

9 July, Stage 4 – Sibiu – Sibiu (150km)