- Kolarstwo kobiet
- Inne dyscypliny
Polish team taking step-by-step approach on a long way to the first tier.
CCC, Polish footwear brand and main sponsor of CCC Sprandi Polkowice team, will spend 0,5% of its annual revenue on the ProContinental squad. Team is reportedly going to receive 3,1 million euros in 2015 as CCC ceases sponsorship of basketball and will focus only on road cycling in years to come, ISB News reported.
According to the report, Dariusz Miłek, company founder and major shareholder, confirmed that the talks with various parties are ongoing in order to secure a future sponsorship and enable the team to make the jump to the WorldTour level.
Polish squad is set to apply for WorldTour licence within next two or three seasons and has already expanded its infrastructure – a new headquarters in Polkowice is being completed while former Katusha manager Slawomir Blaszczak has been put in charge of team's logistics.
In 2015 there are only 17 teams on the WorldTour level, as none of ProContinental squads showed interest in filling the gap created by the merger of Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale and Team Europcar missing out the spot due to financial problems.
"Our dream and goal is to be a WorldTour team in the future. That is not to say that we don't feel comfortable in second division, we're getting invited to a lot of prestigious races, but being among top teams is at the end of the road we're walking" – team's directeur sportif Piotr Wadecki admitted in a recent interview with cycling magazine Szosa, confirming that the team will soon be using a brand-new team bus, reportedly the biggest in pro peloton.
Cycling in Poland is starting to blossom in the light of Michał Kwiatkowski's rainbow jersey and Rafał Majka's Tour de France glory. While the sport still has a long and tough way ahead, first signs of strong upward trend are already visible – continental outfit ActiveJet Team has secured a sponsorship from Orlen Paliwa, Poland's biggest petrol distributor, and will be looking to extending cooperation beyond 2015. Wider media coverage of racing is becoming a fact and cycling is also among most popular sports watched on Polish Eurosport.
With invitations to Giro d'Italia, Milan-San Remo, Il Lombardia, Volta a Catalunya and Amstel Gold Race in hand, CCC Sprandi Polkowice is setting ambitious goals and hopes to capitalize on growing popularity of the discipline. Prior to 2015 season the team has reinforced its ranks, signing experienced domestique Sylwester Szmyd, Grega Bole and controversial German Stefan Schumacher, as well as a handful of espoirs.
Both Bole and Szmyd have already showed signs of good form in early season races – Slovenian rider came 7th in Dubai Tour and was up against sprinters in both Clasica de Almeria and Vuelta a Andalucia, while 36-year-old demonstrated his climbing prowess on penultimate stage of Spanish race.
"It was a surprise. I knew I had the legs, but I didn't know I can climb with the very best on such a steep climb. Obviously it's a good sign for me" – Szmyd wrote on his blog after finishing 4th on Alto de Allanadas behind Team Sky's Christopher Froome, Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador and Spaniard Mikel Nieve.
Szmyd, who turns 37 next week, is set to lead Polish team at Giro d'Italia where he hopes to fight for top10 placing or a stage win. He will be probably lining-up alongside Bole and Maciej Paterski who is enjoying arguably the best period of his career, last year winning Uno-X Tour of Norway (2.HC), playing a significant role in Kwiatkowski's assault on rainbow jersey and recently finishing 6th in Vuelta a Murcia.