Tour of Poland to mark 25 years of Polish democracy in 2014
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tour of Poland to mark 25 years of Polish democracy in 2014

by Ben Atkins at 6:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
 
Gdańsk start likely in tribute to the Solidarity movement that toppled Communist regime

rafal majkaWhile details have yet to be finalised, the 2014 edition of the Tour of Poland looks set to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the country’s freedom from Communism. This year’s edition of the seven-day stage race took the unusual - yet spectacular - decision to start in the mountains of Trentino, northern Italy, with a rest day inserted between stages two and three to allow for the long journey north to Poland.

“We celebrated the 70th edition of the Tour de Pologne with the extraordinary kickoff from Trentino, in the Italian Dolomites, and it turned out to be a truly exceptional, memorable experience,” says Czeslaw Lang. “In light of this unprecedented success, all our staff is busy working with commitment and enthusiasm on next year’s edition because we want to set up another great race that can still bring thrills and excitement to everyone.

“The route still needs to be made official, we have to work out some details and get some confirmations, but for the most part we have outlined an overall design for the 2014 Tour de Pologne,” he continued. “It will all start in Poland; after a few years’ absence we’ve decided to return to the north. The stage for the kickoff will most likely be Gdańsk, a very important city for its historical, cultural and political background.”

Gdańsk - or Danzig - is the country’s biggest port, on the Baltic Sea, and has been an important city in the history of the region. It is its role as the birthplace of the Solidarity union, however, that is set to be celebrated in the 2014 Tour of Poland, however, whose constant pressure on the Communist government of the 1980s eventually forced it to announce democratic elections in 1989.

Solidarity’s leader, former shipyard electrician Lech Walesa, was elected president of Poland in 1990, ending the regime that had been imposed by the Soviet Union on the country’s liberation from the Nazis in 1945.

After a rare visit to the north of the country, the race will then head in the direction of the hillier south, where the final yellow jersey will be decided.

“Then we’d like to descend towards Warsaw,” Lang explained. “With the second stage we’re hoping to set off from Torun, birthplace of Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), in a tribute to this rider who is bringing enormous satisfaction to Polish cycling. He has become a shining example to all our young kids who are becoming enthusiastic about cycling.

“Like in 2013, the arrival for the third stage could be in Rzeszow, where this year Thor Hushovd prevailed,” Lang continued. “Then the fourth stage should be on the fast track in Katowice, where this year once again Taylor Phinney managed to beat all the sprinters with a remarkable final move. This means that the first part of the Tour de Pologne will feature four flat stages suitable for sprinters. After that we will head for the mountains, on the Tatra range; the fifth stage will probably set off from Zakopane to wind up with a circuit in Slovakia, which would be the first time this race touched down in that country.

“After this there will be the traditional reigning stage with the tough circuit at Bukowina Tatrzanska where the climbers and big guns will get their chance to attack before the grand finale in Krakow featuring a time trial of about 30 km, the same time trial in which this year the top riders rode a battle to the final second to capture the yellow jersey,” Lang concluded.

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