For Marek Rutkiewicz the 68th edition of Tour de Pologne UCI World Tour will be the 10th chance to win in our national tour. The CCC Polsat Polkowice cyclist is ready for the next great battle and for sure he will stir cycling fans’ emotions.
The 68th edition of Tour de Pologne is coming soon. What do your preparations for the race look like, and how do you assess your form?
The preparations this year are a bit different than those in the previous years. Not long ago we returned from a race that took place at the altitude of 3200 metres. We were there for about two weeks. We hope that that time spent high will have a positive effect on our body’s parameters. The most recent days are only intense riding in the mountains and getting familiar with the route of this year’s Tour Pologne at the same time. As for the form, it is hard to say what it is like, because I did most of my trainings in the rain, and, as you know, in such conditions legs often fail to function properly. I see, though, that it is not bad.
This year you are going to start in the colours of CCC Polsat Polkowice, not in the National Team of Poland. Is it a big difference for you?
Honestly speaking not. At present in the CCC team some of the best cyclists in Poland ride. So, it is as if I was riding in the national team. The more so because this year we are going to race in a much similar composition as last year. The only difference for me will be the fact that I will appear in the colours of the team.
Every year you are considered the favourite of the event. The eyes of Polish fans are mainly on you. This season also Tomasz Marczyński is presenting himself excellently, we also have a record number of Poles, including Huzarski, Niemiec and Majka. Do you feel that the pressure that has been on you in the previous years is smaller this year?
The pressure of the result is the same. Once I made a decision that I would like to win that race and all the time I have been trying to achieve this goal. So for me it does not make a difference how many Poles are going to try to stand on the podium this year. For me the goal is clear. Riding in the peloton where there will be so many of ‘our’ people will certainly a pleasure.
This year we have three mountain stages with the finishing line in Cieszyn, Zakopane and Bukowina Tatrzańska. How do you evaluate their level of the difficulty?
I have just returned from the reconnaissance of the 5th and 6th stage of Tour de Pologne, where I was with friends from the CCC team. I must say that the mountain stages of this year’s race will be very hard, especially the stage Terma Bukovina Hotel SPA – Bukowina Tatrzańska. It will have been my tenth start in Tour de Pologne and probably there has never been such a difficult stage so far. I think that in that stage we will see the winner of the whole race.