The most important step of the Tour de Pologne, the 20th anniversary of the UCI World Tour

In 2005, Czesław Lang managed to secure a place for Tour de Pologne in newly formed league, back then under the name of UCI Pro Tour. Time proved that this series changed cycling in a big way. There are only 12 countries in the calendar and Poland has been one of them for 20 years now! 

“I take this as the highest recognition of our work. We received an invitation to the cycling Champions League as the only organizer from Central and Eastern Europe. We are in the same place as Tour de France or Giro d’Italia. The difference is that our race lasts a week” – said Lang after joining UCI Pro Tour series. 12 years earlier, he had taken over the rights to the race that wasn’t growing in popularity and tried to rebuild its prestige, step by step. This step, however, was the most important one.

Creation of Pro Tour was a result of a long discussion about the future of cycling calendar. Race organizers, teams and UCI were all involved. Until 2005, only one-day races were affiliated to a single series. Otherwise, teams were choosing where to start, organizers sending invitations without any control. That gave no one a long-term stability, which is crucial when talking to potential sponsors.

Pro Tour wasn’t a perfect concept either, which is why it evolved over the next few years, finally adopting the name of UCI World Tour in 2011. Tour de Pologne could not be left out. What are the basic premises of the series and why is it so important for cycling?

Czesław Lang calls it the Champions League of cycling and there is no exaggeration. A World Tour license can be granted to a maximum of 20 teams that put forward a budget guarantee for several years ahead. In return, they get a place (and the obligation to turn up) at the start of all races included in the calendar, including the three Grand Tours.

It’s a win-win situation like they call it in in business. Race-organizers are assured of having the best teams and big names at the start of their events. Teams turn to potential sponsors with a guaranteed presence on TV throughout the season. And the riders are paid a solid salary for their work, as the minimum wage in the UCI World Tour is €42,000 a year. Although the biggest stars, of course, earn millions.


There are 35 races on the UCI World Tour calendar for 2024:
– 20 one-day races
– 12 one-week races (lasting between five and eight days), including Tour de Pologne
– 3 three-week races, the so-called Grand Tours

The peloton of cycling Champions League races on 4 continents (Europe, Asia, North America, Australia). Poland is among only 12 countries with a spot on the calendar! In Europe we are in a truly elite group, with: France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

Thanks to our membership in UCI World Tour, we’ve witnessed many stars on Polish roads over the past 20 years. It was here, where great young sprinters like Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb, Andre Greipel delivered big victories. Peter Sagan claimed his first GC and Alberto Contador left Poland with a TT win. It was in Krakow, where Bradley Wiggins raced Fabian Cancellara. The list of big names goes longer, with Michał Kwiatkowski and Rafał Majka also making their childhood dreams come true by winning Tour de Pologne.


The growth of UCI World Tour allowed all races to reach a global audience. Tour de Pologne has become a great promotion of Poland. TV signal produced by TVP was followed by Eurosport viewers, in recent years it was also distributed by an international intermediary, Infront. The way the race is shown has also changed during those 20 years. It’s now broadcasted from start to finish, on every raceday.

Tour de Pologne position in the structures of UCI World Tour has been unthreatened for two decades. Each race of the season is precisely assessed by UCI observers. Points are awarded for factors like safety on the route, television coverage, quality of the hotels and dozens of finer details. Tour de Pologne regularly ranks at the top of the table.

In 2025, the Tour de Pologne UCI World Tour will take place from 4 to 10 August.