Only a few hours to go until the start of the Tour de Pologne and the most feared and awaited stage is already making the headlines with its unusual route already being examined by the team leaders as a suitable terrain to consolidate the leadership or to conquer it.
Departing from a small town between Zakopane and Nowy Targ and arriving at the Rusiński Ski Station, the time trial runs 11.8 kilometres almost entirely uphill against the breathtaking backdrop of the Tatra Mountains and includes an elevation gain of 342 metres. Compared to the time trials organised in previous editions, the riders will not have to tackle the legendary Bukovina Wall, which makes the stage more suitable for pass riders rather than pure climbers.
Among the favourites for this day are names such as Matteo Sobrero (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), Mark Padun (EF Education – EasyPost), Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Remi Cavagna (Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl).
“I am happy to be back at the Tour de Pologne again this year. After the Italian championships I got some rest and will return to racing next Saturday in Kielce” Matteo Sobrero confesses. “The sixth stage has a time trial that suits my characteristics. It is not very long, just under 12 kilometres, but there are climbs practically all the time with peaks of even 10% gradient. It will undoubtedly be the battleground for the pretenders to get the overall victory and so I expect a tight race. As far as I’m concerned, I like the course and believe I can put in a good performance“.
“After a long time, in Katowice last year, the time trial became part of the Tour de Pologne route again. It was a great success and also a great sporting spectacle. It saw the gathering of thousands of fans including those not necessarily interested in road cycling. This year’s ITT will be very different because it will take place in the mountains with a route that is therefore mostly uphill. It’ll be the stage of truth” confirms Czeslaw Lang.
As in past editions, the challenge against the clock will again be a crucial and delicate moment for the entire race. Those in the leader’s jersey will have to do their utmost not to lose precious seconds, while the guys aiming to climb the classification will be able to take advantage of this key stage to build up an advantage ahead of the grand finale in Krakow, which has always proved surprising and spectacular.