Team NetApp-Endura is looking forward not only to the Vuelta a Espana but also the Tour of Poland, and none more so than Polish rider Bartosz Huzarski. Leo König, of the Czech Republic is eagerly anticipating his first grand tour, starting in one month.
“We are really proud to start in the Tour of Poland. For me it is a pretty important race,” Huzarski told Cyclingnews from the team's training camp in Italy. “It is the biggest race in Poland and for Polish riders. I would like to do my best, so I hope everything goes will and it will be a good week.”
The 32-year-old is a good climber who in fact won the mountains jersey in the race in 2005 and 2006 whilst riding for the Polish Professional Continental team Mroz/Intel-Action. However, he is not looking forward to the opening stages in Italy, which start right out with major climbing. He prefers the shorter steeper climbs which come later.
“The problem is that the first stages are are a bit long for me. The stages in Poland i know really good, they are hilly but not so long climbs as those in Italy. I would like to try to maybe win a stage and I hope my legs are good enough.”
From there Huzarski hopes to start in the Vuelta a Espana, for which the team has a wildcard invitation. “I hope I will go there. It would be great to start. It would be my first time in the Vuelta and it has always been my dream to ride the Vuelta.” And with “lots of short climbs, I hope to do well.”
König missed out on the team's Grand Tour debut, the Giro d'Italia, last spring due to back problems. “I'm still dreaming of a Grand Tour. It didn't work out in the Giro last year, so I am looking forward to the Vuelta, to being at the start of a grand tour.
“It will be a learning process, but I want to do a good race as well,” he told Cyclingnews. “I want to animate the race a little bit, especially in the mountains. With all the mountaintop finishes, I think I will have the opportunity to show what I can do.”
He has already shown this season what he can do, winning the Queen stage of the Tour of California. The 25-year-old won the seventh stage atop Mount Diablo. “Usually I get off to, I don't want to say a slow start, but kind of not really a good first half,” he explained. “But this year was different. My first in was in California. The conditions were extremely tough with the heat,which affected me, and we were lucky with the stage win.”
König too is looking forward to the Tour of Poland, but unlike teammate Huzarski, is eager for the early climbs in Italy. He doesn't like the short steep climbs that come later.
“My personal goal is to to do one really good stage,” he said. “Maybe in Italy, the second stage. I did the recon on that one last month and it is a really really hard one. When I did it, it took nearly six hours with 4000 climbing meters. That could suit me well.”