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49th edition of Polish race unveils its program
Szlakiem Grodow Piastowskich race organizers have revealed the route of 2014 edition, announcing the schedule and parcours for three days of racing on Polish roads.
Racing for general classification kicks off on Friday, May 9 and finishes on Sunday, May 11. The whole event is preceded by a 32km criterium in Legnica, a traditional short warm-up before riders hit Owl Mountains. The route is similar to two previous editions, however some changes have been implemented - this year, there are three stages in program, meaning no double stage day at the end of the week.
Stage one takes peleton through seven climbs in Owl Mountains, with Walim Pass featuring both the begining and the end of the day. 10km descent and short flat section should see a selected group fighting for victory and race lead. Stage two gets underway in Zlotoryja - first town in Poland located on Magdeburg rights back in 13th century - and finishes in Polkowice - a place where Polish ProContinental team CCC Polsat is based. 160 kilometers of undulating terrain will not scary the sprinters, as the road leads them to three big and three small laps around the town, giving them a perfect occasion for a bunch sprint.
The final outcome of three days of racing will be decided by time-trialling skills, as final stage offers a 30km-long fight against the clock in Polkowice. The out-and-back stage is technical, with many turns and switchbacks, as well as a midway return.
There are three intermediate sprints on stage 1 and 2, giving riders a possibility to get 3, 2 or 1 bonus seconds. There are also awards on the finish line - 10, 6 and 4 seconds for top three riders respectively.
Czech rider Jan Barta (Team NetApp-Endura) won 2013 edition, taking gold leader's jersey after time trial. Race organizers have not revealed the list of invited teams yet but CCC Polsat Polkowice and all Polish continental squads are expected to sign the startlist, along with teams from Slovakia, Germany and Denmark.
Szlakiem Grodow Piastowskich takes place in Lower Silesia, in south-west of Poland. The region was an important and well-developed part of Piast dynasty kingdom in Middle Ages, exceling in urbanization process and gold and cooper mining. The name, however difficult to pronounce, describes the whole event, as riders follow the paths Poland's tangled medieval history and visit towns that were once ruling dynasty's strongholds.
Stage 1: Swidnica – Dzierzoniow (156,7 km)