Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Tour de Pologne
The season's 28th World Tour event takes place between 4-10 August.
The 75th Tour de Pologne will kick off on Saturday from Krakow, one of the country's oldest cities, which will play host to the first of the three consecutive flat stages, where the sprinters will fight not only for victory, but also for the honor of wearing the race's first yellow jersey. Katowice and Zabrze will then await the bunch on the next two days, giving the fast men the opportunity to seal the points standings before the event makes a U-turn and heads into the mountains.
Tuesday will be the day that the landscape will change dramatically, when four climbs crammed into the second part of the 179km-long Szczryk stage will bring to the fore the general classification contenders and create the first gaps in the overall rankings.
The fifth leg of the race could be one for the baroudeurs, before the showdown on the roads between Zakopane and Bukovina, a stage that is set to feature a string of short climbs culminating with a 10km-long ascent that will seriously test the peloton. The traditional Bukowina Tatrzanska stage is different than in the past years, but this doesn't mean it's going to be any easier, with several short hills sprinkled along the way giving attackers the chance to open some decisive gaps.
Quick-Step Floors will look to enhance its already impressive 2018 palmares, and for that very reason will come to the start with a team that can be a protagonist regardless of the terrain. Alvaro Hodeg – who didn't waste any time this season in showing his potential in the sprints – will get the chance to go for other strong results, backed by a strong lead-out train that includes 2016 Tour de Pologne stage winner Davide Martinelli, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini. Together with Eros Capecchi and Dries Devenyns, Tour of California top 10 overall Laurens De Plus will hope to be up there once the road will rise.
"Always a well-organised race, the Tour de Pologne is the first big and important appointment for many of the riders after the summer break, so motivation won't be a problem", said sports director Rik van Slycke. "The rolling parcours, with many steep climbs, is a selective one and the weather could also be a factor during the week, like it was the case on many of the previous editions, but we are prepared to play a role there, be it in sprints, breakaways or uphill finishes."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images