News

Five stages for Poland to mark WorldTour stage race return

August race provides opportunity to ease back into racing for grand tour-bound stars.

The WorldTour’s first stage race since the coronavirus shutdown confirmed its stages Thursday in what’s one step closer to a return to racing.

Officials from the 77th Tour de Pologne said its five stages, set to run August 5-9, will serve as a beacon of hope for professional cycling.

“The Tour de Pologne will be the first [WorldTour] stage race to take place after the lockdown of all the competitions,” said race director Czeslaw Lang. “I am sure that this is a significant value for the entire cycling world.”

The Polish tour — reduced by two days to make room for other events on the WorldTour’s revised calendar — is expected to draw a good field as it comes before the rescheduled Tour de France, set to begin August 29 in Nice, France. Expected starters include Richard Carapaz (Ineos), Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Pascal Ackermann and Rafa Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), and John Degenkolb (Lotto-Soudal).

The race will also be the first WorldTour stage race to see a series of new safety protocols and limitations introduced for racing during the ongoing pandemic.

“To guarantee everyone’s safety we had to set some necessary limitations that will certainly influence this edition, but we would like to be the ambassadors of a message of recovery as we are all waiting for the situation to stabilize,” Lang said. “I am confident because our team has made a huge effort to adjust to the rules dictated by this unexpected worldwide situation.”

Stage 1: Stadion Slaski to Spodek Katowice, 195.8km — A day for the sprinters.

Stage 2: Opole to Zabrze, 151.5km — A mid-race climb shouldn’t stop the sprinters.

Stage 3: Wadowice to Bielsko-Biala, Slaskie, 203.1km — A hard stage to open the GC selection, starting in the birthplace of Pope John Paul II, with the race celebrating the centenary of his birth. A demanding finishing circuit ends with an uphill finale.

Stage 4: Bukovina resort to Bukowina Tatrzansk, 152.9km — The decisive GC day littered with climbs.

Stage 5: Zakopane to Kraków, 188km — Some hilly terrain to give wing to attackers before a finishing circuit.