The official presentation of the 2014 WorldTour Tour de Pologne route, held in Warsaw, revealed the seven stage race in early-August will be distinctly a Polish after last year's grand depart in Trentino.
The General Director for the Tour de Pologne, Czeslaw Lang played host for the event to baptise the 2014 edition of the race which runs from August 3-9.
"The 2013 edition of the Tour de Pologne set off from Trentino, with two fantastic and spectacular stages that were held against the magical scenery in the Dolomites, among some of the most beautiful mountains in the world that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites," explained Czeslaw Lang of the race which was won by Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge).
"Instead this year the Tour de Pologne will return to a kick off in Poland. After a few years' absence we are heading back North; the race will set off from the southern coasts of the Baltic Sea, in lovely Gdansk, a city that is very important for its historical, business and political background. And it's not all just about cycling; as always the Tour de Pologne will look beyond the race and as it passes through various places we will try to emphasize all of Poland's historic and traditional aspects."
The 2014 race celebrates 25 years since free elections in Poland from when parliamentary elections were first held in 1989 and it was labour strikes by shipyard workers in Gdansk that played a fundamental role in this process. These initiatives were organized by Lech Walesa, the founder of the Solidarnosc movement, the first union to declare independence from the Soviet Bloc. Walesa was at the presentation and will also be in Danzica on August 3rd to help get the race underway.
The start in Danzica will commemorate the anniversary and the 70-year-old Walesa who the President of Poland from 1990 - 1995.
"Coming in 2014 there will be an all new arrival in Slovakia with the fifth stage scheduled for Thursday, August 7th. The stage will start in Zakopane, Poland, and arrive in Strbske Pleso, in Slovakian territory, after 178 km. So the lovely scenery offered by the Tatra Mountains, which piggy back Poland and Slovakia, will provide the backdrop for this stage," Lang said of the route.
"As for the rest, the first part of the Tour will be suited to sprinters. The second stage with arrival in Warsaw will start Torun, the native town of Michal Kwiatkowski and Michal Golas as well as the great astronomer Niccolò Copernicus. The third stage will arrive in Rzeszów, where Thor Hushovd made his mark in 2013; and the fourth stage will be on the fast circuit Katowice where Taylor Phinney won, ahead of all the sprinters, with a fantastic move in the final.
"Following will be the grand finale, with the reigning stage on the hard circuit at Bukowina Tatrzanska where the climbers and headliners will find space to attack before the conclusive, 25-km time trial in Krakow."
2014 Tour de Pologne
Stage 1: Gdansk – Bydgoszcz, 226 Km
Stage 2: Torun – Warszawa, 234 Km
Stage 3: Kielce – Rzeszów, 180 Km
Stage 4: Tarnów – Katowice, 232 Km
Stage 5: Zakopane – Strbske Pleso (Slovakia), 178 Km
Stage 6: Bukovina Terma Hotel Spa – Bukowina Tatrzanska, 180 Km
Stage 7: Kraków – Kraków, 25 Km (ITT)