Riders gather for the team presentation in Italy
The 23 teams that will compete in the 70th edition of the Tour de Pologne attended the official presentation on Friday evening, as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard) all began the second half of their season with the weeklong WorldTour race.
This year's Tour of Poland begins in Italy, with two mountain stages in the Dolomites before transferring north to Poland on Monday for the final five stages. The race ends on August 3 with a 37km time trial to Krakow.
The team presentation was held at the MART Art museum in Rovereto, whore Saturday's opening stage begins. As part of a new experiment initiated by the UCI to try to create more open, aggressive racing, each team includes just six riders with special time bonuses on offer on each stage to riders who score points in intermediate and mountain sprints.
Nibali and Wiggins face each other for the first time since the Giro d'Italia but the Tour of Poland is the first race for both riders and their form remains a mystery. Both were also absent from the team presentation due to arriving late in Rovereto. However Team Sky can also count on Rigoberto Uran and has Ben Swift for the two expected sprint stages.
Other big names in action at the Tour of Poland include Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Giovanni Visconti, Sylvester Szmyd (Movistar), Thor Hushovd, Taylor Phinney, Marco Pinotti and new Italian national champion Ivan Santaromita (BMC). Thomas Dekker and Johan Vansummeren stand out in the Garmin-Sharp line-up.