2014 Tour de Pologne route presented

Polish WorldTour race set to travel from Baltic Sea to Tatra mountains and visit Slovakia

71st edition of the race has been officially presented during special press conference in Warsaw. The race takes place from August 3-9 and covers 1 253 km, with four flat stages, two days in the mountains and a final time trial.

TdP_2014_mapa_nologo

2014 Tour de Pologne kicks off from Gdansk, port city, a place where strikes against Communist rule started in 1980, after a decade of struggle leading to breakthrough elections in 1989, putting an end to Poland's dependence on Soviet bloc. The race hounors the 25th anniversary of the elections and is organized under aegis of former Polish president, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Solidarnosc opposition movement leader - Lech Walesa.

lech i langLech Walesa and Czeslaw Land during press conference

This year's edition presents a balanced route, with four stages suitable for bunch sprints. The race travels through northern Poland and although organizers want to attract sprinters, the stages are very long - first, second and fourth are well over 200 km. Flat stages finish in city centres and riders have to deal with loops on final kilometers - giving breakaways small chances to stay away.

The second stage starts in Torun - birthplace of Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders - Michal Kwiatkowski and Michal Golas - and famous Polish astronomer - Nicolas Copernicus.

The race hits the mountains on stage 5, as the route leads from ski town Zakopane to Slovakia. Most of the climbing is concentrated in last 60 kilometers, as the peleton visits Strbskie Pleso and climbs 8km ascent three times, finishing atop the mountain.

Stage 6 is even harder and well-known to riders, too. Held usually in very warm weather conditions, the stage may be a hell for participants - Alex Dowsett once compared the profile to "jagged teeth" (making Polish fans chuckle - name of one of the climbs - Ząb - means "a tooth"). The round is very demanding - narrow roads lead riders up and down in stunning scenery of Tatra mountains. It is however unwise to start admiring the views - descents are tricky and corners tight.

The climb of Zab and Sciana Bukowina (aka Gliczarów Gorny) are steep climbs, 4.5km and 5.5km respectively. Zab is steeper, although it is Gliczarów that makes riders crawl and fight to stay on their bikes as the gradient on preultimate kilometer exeeds 20%. There are 13 climbs in total - 4 demanding rounds with an uphill finish in Bukowina (4km, 5%).

Just like during last year's edition, the race will conclude with an individual time trial in Krakow. This time the stage will be only 25km. Medieval city, one of Poland's greatest symbols, once its capital, will be the place of the final struggle and the race winner will be once again standing on a podium, set on one of Europe's biggest main squares.

Parcours:

Stage 1: Gdansk – Bydgoszcz (226 km)

tourdepologne2014-01Stage 2: Torun – Warszawa (234 km)

tourdepologne2014-02Stage 3: Kielce – Rzeszow (180 km)

tourdepologne2014-03Stage 4: Tarnow – Katowice (236 km)

tourdepologne2014-04Stage 5: Zakopane – Strbskie Pleso, Slovakia (178 km)

tourdepologne2014-05Stage 6: Bukowina – Bukowina (174 km)

tourdepologne2014-06Stage 7: Krakow – Krakow (25 km, ITT)

tourdepologne2014-07

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