This week the curtain rose on the 71st edition of the Tour de Pologne. The official presentation for the 2014 Polish stage race was held today, Thursday, April 3rd at 4:00 p.m. at the Hotel Marriott in Warsaw. During the presentation the media and public received all the official details for the 7 stages in the Tour de Pologne scheduled from August 3rd to the 9th, 2014. This race has become a steady date on the UCI World Tour calendar during cycling season’s long, hot summer.
As always, General Director for the Tour de Pologne Czeslaw Lang played host for the event. There were many celebrities attending as guests, including stars from the world of cycling and sports, politics and Polish show business, who were on hand to help baptize the 2014 edition of the Tour de Pologne.
“The 2013 edition of the Tour de Pologne set off from Trentino, with two fantastic and spectacular stages that were held against the magical scenery in the Dolomites, among some of the most beautiful mountains in the world that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” explains Czeslaw Lang. “Instead this year the Tour de Pologne will return to a kick off in Poland. After a few years’ absence we are heading back North; the race will set off from the southern coasts of the Baltic Sea, in lovely Gdansk, a city that is very important for its historical, business and political background. And it’s not all just about cycling; as always the Tour de Pologne will look beyond the race and as it passes through various places we will try to emphasize all of Poland’s historic and traditional aspects.”
The year 2014 will celebrate 25 years since free elections in Poland (parliamentary elections in 1989). The labour strikes by shipyard workers in Danzica played a fundamental role in this process. These initiatives were organized by Lech Walesa, the founder of the Solidarnosc movement, the first union to declare independence from the Soviet Bloc. Walesa, an extraordinary figure who was at the presentation today, will also be in Danzica on August 3rd to help get the race underway. The start in Danzica will commemorate this anniversary and this extraordinary historical figure, who led the Catholic Workers’ movement through a long and difficult season of confrontation with the Communist regime, going on to become the leader of Poland and bringing to term a peaceful revolution that was able to give freedom back to the Polish people and open the eyes of the rest of the world with new hope.
“Coming in 2014,” continues Lang, “there will be an all new arrival in Slovakia with the 5th stage scheduled for Thursday, August 7th. The stage will start in Zakopane, Poland, and arrive in Strbske Pleso, in Slovakian territory, after 178 km. So the lovely scenery offered by the Tatra Mountains, which piggy back Poland and Slovakia, will provide the backdrop for this stage.”
“As for the rest, the first part of the Tour will be suited to sprinters,” says Lang. “The second stage with arrival in Warsaw will start Torun, the native town of Michal Kwiatkowski and Michal Golas as well as the great astronomer Niccolò Copernicus. The third stage will arrive in Rzeszów, where Thor Hushovd made his mark in 2013; and the fourth stage will be on the fast circuit Katowice where Taylor Phinney won, ahead of all the sprinters, with a fantastic move in the final. Following will be the grand finale, with the reigning stage on the hard circuit at Bukowina Tatrzanska where the climbers and headliners will find space to attack before the conclusive, 25-km time trial in Krakow.”
Our relationship with Trentino remains strong; in fact the official lay-out for the 2014 Tour de Pologne was designed by the artist from Trento Fulvio Bernardini, also known as Fulber, who had already collaborated with the Tour de Pologne last year. In his graphics Fulber unites the race with the history and tradition that distinguish it. His style leads to the creation of unique and interesting artwork for collectors as well as art and cycling fans (here attached the image).
The 4 jerseys from the Al.Ba. Sport label for the Tour de Pologne were also introduced: the yellow will identify the leader of the Skandia general classification, the Tauron cyclamen will go to the winner of the classification for the mountain GPs; the blue jersey will be worn by the most active rider in the peloton and the Al.Ba.Sport white-red will go to the special points classification. There was great enthusiasm on the part of all the official partners who support the Tour de Pologne with passion and commitment, with main sponsor Skandia as the usual standout.
There was also a lot of focus on the many events that traditionally follow the pro race. Among these is the Nutella Mini Tour de Pologne, the event dedicated to the very youngest riders (kids from the ages of 8 to 12) which continues to grow and enjoy increasing success with every edition; this year the project has been expanded with the Nutella Mini Tour de Pologne – Puchar Mlodzików for youngsters 13-14 years old who are registered with a sports association. And lest we forget the Tour de Pologne Amatorów which every year attracts fans to Bukowina to pedal along the same roads faced by the professional athletes in the race.
THE STAGES IN THE 2014 TOUR DE POLOGNE
Sunday, August 3 – I Stage, Gdańsk – Bydgoszcz, 226 Km
Monday, August 4 – II Stage, Toruń – Warszawa, 234 Km
Tuesday, August 5 – III Stage, Kielce – Rzeszów, 180 Km
Wednesday, August 6 – IV Stage, Tarnów Gemini Park – Katowice, 232 Km
Thursday, August 7 – V Stage, Zakopane – Štrbské Pleso (Slovakia), 178 Km
Friday, August 8 – VI Stage, BUKOVINA Terma Hotel Spa – Bukowina Tatrzańska, 180 Km
Saturday, August 9 – VII Stage, Kraków – Kraków, 25 km (individual time trial)
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