The countdown is over, everything is ready for the start of the 77th Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour which will kick off tomorrow from the Slaski stadium in Chorzów with a 198 km open stage. From the 5th to the 9th of August five exciting stages are scheduled from Chorzów to Krakow.
The top riders are ready to fight for victory: Remco Evenepoel, Simon Yates, Maximilian Schachmann and Jakob Fuglsang among others, with the latter two demonstrating great form last Saturday. For the sprinters’ battle all eyes are on Fabio Jakobsen, Pascal Ackermann and Dylan Groenewegen, while on the mountain stages Il’nur Zakarin and Esteban Chaves are without question the names expected to do well. Also, it’s impossible to forget brilliant outsiders like Tomasz Marczynski, Tim Wellens and Jasper Stuyven, who are certainly capable of spicing the race up.
The iconic rainbow jerseys will complete the starting grid with Mads Pedersen, current Elite Road World Champion and Samuele Battistella, the last U23 World Champion.
QUOTES FROM THE PELOTON Riders
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) ‘I’ve never been at the Tour de Pologne but I’ve heard a lot about it. I am excited to be here even if it’s a race known for being intense. I checked the route and it seems just great. I always want to learn new things and test myself; I don’t know exactly what to expect to be honest. I will for sure do my best to be ready for the most demanding stages, the 3rd and the 4th especially. The new calendar changed things a little so there might be some surprises. We’ll all need to pay close attention at every stage of the race. I will give everything I have to support the Wolfpack.
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
‘It will be my first time participating in the Tour de Pologne but my teammates told me it’s a really nice route and a great race, so I’m happy to be able to take part in it. I had a good altitude camp in Livigno and now I’m looking forward to finally restarting the season again. Strade Bianche was the first legs’ test and now I’m facing my first stage race with the Tour de Pologne.’
Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott)
‘My first race back last week gave me lot of confidence for the work done and for the rest of the season; we need to keeping working without rushing. Now we know a bit more about the performance in comparison to the other guys and also what’s working well and what we are missing. Plenty time to work on that. Stages three and four will be the most important for us; we can play really well with the climbers even if they are more hilly and punchy rather than pure mountains. More days of racing are good for my leg strength, especially for the goals after Poland.’
Rafal Majka (Team Bora-hansgrohe): “I’m very excited to be competing in my home race, the Tour de Pologne. It’s always a great experience to race a World Tour event on Polish roads. We’re bringing a versatile and strong team, with several options for the GC, like Max Schachmann, Patrick Konrad and myself, and then Pascal Ackermann for the sprints. I’m sure I’ll be able to count on my teammates for the best support, as always. I’ve just finished my first stage race since the season recommenced, and despite being involved in a crash on the first day of the event, I’m feeling better day by day. I’m looking forward to bringing our fantastic Polish supporters some exciting days of racing.’
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
“I really much look forward to this race. It’s my first UCI WorldTour race after the lockdown actually, so I am really excited. I was here also last year and I loved it. It’s a nice race with a nice parcours. I cannot wait to sprint here. I checked the route and it seems that the first two stages and the last suit me well, so I think I have enough chances to show my fast legs. We have a really good team and, for sure, we’re going to race for the GC as well.”
Klaas Lodewyck (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
“Thinking of the five stages of this year’s Tour de Pologne, I’d say it doesn’t change that much for us, as three of the five stages are for sprinters and the other two are perfect for the GC. We definitely have enough time to make the race hard and aggressive and fight for the General Classification and have to pay attention to not lose any time with our GC guys. The team stayed the same as planned before knowing it was shortened, we didn’t have to change anything.”
Mathew Hayman (Mitchelton – Scott)
“I think we’ve got all bases covered. We’re coming in with Luka Mezgec who won two stages in Poland last year, and we’re using a couple of the same finishes, so obviously he’ll be keen to get back to racing. So, on the flatter days we will be looking after Luka, whilst Daryl Impey will also get opportunities as well. We’ve got a pretty hit squad of climbers with Chaves, Yates, and Nieve coming out of Burgos and showing good form there, as well as Zeits coming in for his first race back. It was pretty encouraging what we saw in Burgos, the guys were riding really well, and riding well as a team, and just excited to get back to racing. We’re racing in the same areas we’ve done in the past; a different course but the same types of stages. There’s two hilly stages, I wouldn’t call them mountain stages; so, we’ll be looking for opportunities on those two days, stages three and four, to see if we can go for a good GC result too.”
Yaroslav Popovych (Trek – Segafredo)
“This year the Tour of Poland will be two stages shorter than traditionally. I believe this is due to the coronavirus situation, but it’s not detrimental for us. We have a really strong team here and in four out of the five stages we have the opportunity to do really well. Only the second to last stage is a mountain stage; all the others should end in a sprint. We have several options to fight for a result. We have Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven, Edward Theuns, and we have Emils Liepins. Most of them have already raced since the season restarted in Burgos, so we hope for a good performance here in Poland.”