For the first time the organisers of the Tour de Pologne will put on a professional women’s race in 2016. Race organisers have also confirmed that the men’s race would be moved to July as its traditional August date clashes with the Olympic Games in Rio.
The three-day race women's race will take place in July, with the opening day’s racing coinciding with the final stage of the men’s race on July 18 and then finishing on July 20. The women’s Tour de Pologne will also feature on the new Women’s WorldTour calendar nestled between the Giro Rosa and the one-day La Course. It brings the total number of races on the new Women's WorldTour calendar up to 18. Lang is a supporter of the UCI's WorldTour reforms.
“The women’s cycling movement, and the universe of pink cycling in general, has grown a lot in the last few years, all over the world but also here in Poland,” said race organiser Czeslaw Lang. “The start of a UCI WorldTour calendar dedicated to women is further evidence of this growth trend. This is why we’ve decided to expand the Tour de Pologne to include women, by creating one grand event that will cover a total of 10 days of racing.”
Race organisers hope that riders will use the event as preparation for the Olympic Games. It will begin with a team time trial, followed by two road stages.
July date to avoid the Olympics
The Tour de Pologne has been moved to the middle of July to accommodate the Olympic programme, where riders will be competing in the road events between August 6 and 10 when the Tour de Pologne would normally take place. The men’s race will now take place from July 12 to 18. Ion Izagirre (Movistar) won the 2015 edition of the race.
The switch in the calendar means that the Tour de Pologne will clash with the Tour de France, which could result in less big names taking part. However Lang, who has been through all of this before in 2012, is not concerned.
“The same thing happened in 2012, when there were the London Games, and it was absolutely no problem. The Tour de France is and always will be the most important race in the world,” said Lang.
“However, the WorldTour teams have the resources to line up competitive squads on several fronts at the same time. Furthermore, by anticipating the date the Tour de Pologne will become the last, high-level stage race before the Olympics. Poland can be a valid alternative for all those riders and teams who can’t take part in the Grande Boucle, or who prefer to take on a one week stage race in order to finish training for the big event in Rio.”