The “orange squad” has had lots of success in previous editions of Tour of Croatia and will line up at this year’s race (April 17th-22nd, 2.HC) with another podium spots in mind.
Croatian event will start off with two undulating stages. Even though they feature some tough climbing and very long distance (227km and 234,5km respectively) they both are expected to end with a bunch gallop. The GC favorites will play out their first battle on the third day of competition, when they will face a mountain top finish to Sveti Jure. 25km of uphill roads, at 6%, await the riders and those who are not in their top form or don’t specialize in climbing, won’t look forward to that stage.
Those sprinters, who will make the time cut, will fight for glory the next day, when they will finish in Crikvenica. It will be an opportunity to take a breather before the next mountainous stage, which features 15-kilometer, cat. 1 ascent to Učka (6,6%). That final climb will be preceded by three KOMs (one of them is HC category).
Traditionally the race will be concluded in the capital of the country, Zagreb, with technical and paved with cobbles laps and a punchy finish.
“Riders in orange” will focus on battling for top places on particular stages, as there are two sprinters in the lineup – Paweł Franczak and Marko Kump. Also Jan Tratnik can do well in a sprint from a shattered group.
Łukasz Owsian, who recently finished Le Tour de Langkawi second overall, will go for GC. Adrian Kurek, Paweł Bernas and Kamil Gradek, who will round out the roster, will play important roles in the stages’ finales, when a perfect lead out is needed.
Lineup of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for Tour of Croatia: Paweł Franczak, Marko Kump, Jan Tratnik, Adrian Kurek, Łukasz Owsian, Paweł Bernas, Kamil Gradek
17 April, Stage 1 – Osijek – Koprivnica, 227km, Eurosport 1 from 15:30
18 April, Stage 2 – Karlovac – Zadar, 234,5km, Eurosport 2 from 15:30
19 April, Stage 3 – Trogir – PP Biokovo (Sv. Jure), 134km, Eurosport 1 from 15:30
20 April, Stage 4 – Starigrad – Crikvenica, 171km, Eurosport 1 from 15:30
21 April, Stage 5 – Rabac – Poklon, 156,5km, Eurosport 2 from 15:30
22 April, Stage 6 – Samobor – Zagreb, 151,5km, Eurosport 2 from 15:15