In celebration and commemoration of the Tour de Pologne's 90th anniversary in 2018, race organisers have unveiled a mobile museum. The mobile museum, a first, was launched at the Warsaw National Stadium bike expo by general manager of the WorldTour race, Czeslaw Lang, a number of delegates and Polish rider Thomas Marczynski of Lotto Soudal.
The mobile museum also commemorates the centenary of Polish independence in 2018 along with the racing history of the Tour de Pologne.
"This is an exceptional year for the Tour de Pologne. It is the 75th edition but we are really celebrating 90 years of the race," said Lang. "Furthermore, the Tour de Pologne will actively participate in the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence. Cycling is history. In fact, those who fought for that independence, some of them on bicycles, contributed greatly to the cause, as can be witnessed by visiting this, the first mobile museum in history dedicated to cycling."
The first edition of the Tour de Pologne, created through the partnership of Warsaw Cycling Society and the Krakow newspaper Przegląd Sportowy, was held in 1928 with Felix Więcek taking the overall victory. The race, originally known as Wyścig Dookoła Polski, has since become an important fixture on the WorldTour and Polish sporting calendar. For Lang, the cultural and political history of Poland are intertwined with the race and in 2018 he has created a route that continues to pay homage to the country's rich and diverse past.
"Historic remembrance has always been a part of the Tour de Pologne. The race has always joined celebrations commemorating the most important events in Polish history," he said. "For example, in the last several editions, the race has celebrated Fryederyk Chopin, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and even the anniversary of the Warsaw revolt. In 2013, the year of the Great Jubilee, the 70th Tour de Pologne honored Pope John Paul II and we kicked off with two stages in Italy, to the notes of the Polish National anthem that goes, "from Italy to Poland".
"Then in 2014, the race took off from Gdansk, where Lech Walesa attended, to join celebrations for the 25th anniversary of Poland’s freedom from communism. In 2016 the race set out from Radzymin, the place that witnessed one of the bloodiest battles in the Polish-Bolshevik War in 1920."
The mobile museum features a large collection of cycling paraphernalia including bicycles, jerseys, trophies, Lang's 1980 Olympic silver medal, along with historic photos and articles. An interactive multimedia area provides further information on the history of the race.
Until October, the museum will visit 11 cities across Poland including the hosts of all seven Tour de Pologne stages between 4-7 August.
Marian Więckowski and Dariusz Baranowski hold the record of race wins with three. Więckowski completed a hat-trick of victories between 1954 and 1956 with Baranowski matching the feat between 1991 and 1993. The defending champion of the race is Belgian rider Dylan Teuns. Rafa Majka in 2014 remains the last Polish rider to win the race overall.