By Daniel Marszalek
This year's 62nd edition of the Tour de Pologne (originally called Dookola Polski, which started in 1928) will start on Monday, September 12 in Gdansk on the Baltic Sea, and will finish on Sunday, September 18 at the Karpacz resort in the Karkonosze mountains, as it has done so since 1999. Gdansk will host the Tour de Pologne's grand depart for the fifth time in a row, but this time it will happen just two weeks after the 25th anniversary of the creation of solidarity movement in the very same city.
The new route of the race which was presented on Tuesday in Warsaw's Sofitel Victoria hotel sticks with the modern TdP tradition. The race is 1253 km long, slightly shorter than in 2004, and is divided into eight stages in seven days. The first four stages are flat or at most, undulating, while the other four are all quite hilly with toughest being Saturday's stage six from Piechowice to Karpacz. Just like in the previous edition, the final day of the 62nd TdP will consist of two stages: a road stage in the morning and a afternoon time trial over 19 km that finishes 800 metres above sea level after a 5 km climb to Orlinek.
The most notable differences to the previous editions of the TdP are the new stage finish towns on day 1 and day 4: Elblag and Leszno instead of Gdynia and Kalisz). The other change worth mentioning is the movement of the start of the fifth stage from Olesnica, to the capital of Lower Silesia region, Wroclaw.
Being a ProTour race, the 20 ProTour teams plus the only Polish professional continental team, Intel-Action, are certain to start so far. Race director Czeslaw Lang, himself a pro in the 1980's with Italian teams Gis Gelati, Carrera, Del Tongo and Malvor, said, "At last we have a Polish event open for the best riders in the world. I'm proud to have such race in Poland. I'd also like to thank all the people, who through all these years since 1993 were working with me on this race and made this success possible."
Stage 1 - September 12: Gdansk - Elblag, 170,5 km
Stage 2 - September 13: Tczew - Olsztyn, 224,5 km
Stage 3 - September 14: Ostróda - Bydgoszcz, 204 km
Stage 4 - September 15: Inowroclaw - Leszno, 209 km
Stage 5 - September 16: Wroclaw - Szklarska Poreba, 212 km
Stage 6 - September 17: Piechowice - Karpacz, 153 km
Stage 7 - September 18: Jelenia Góra - Karpacz, 61 km
Stage 8 - September 18: Jelenia Góra - Karpacz ITT, 19 km