The CCC Team will make history Saturday when they start the 2019 Tour de Pologne as the first Polish-registered WorldTour team to team to start the seven-day race, which is celebrating its 76th edition.
The August 3-8 race starts in Krakow with a 136km stage and concludes the following Friday with a 132.5km stage from Bukovina Resort to Bukowina Tatrzańska. In between, the peloton will visit Tarnowskie Góry, Katowice, Chorzów, Zabrze, Jaworzno, Kocierz, Kopalnia Soli Wieliczka, Bielsko-Biała and Zakopane.
The CCC Team will have plenty of opportunities to show off their WorldTour jerseys in their home country, with the roster including three polish riders: Kamil Gradek, Łukasz Owsian and Szymon Sajnok. They'll be joined in the seven-rider roster by Amaro Antunes, Simon Geschke, Jakub Mareczko and Serge Pauwels.
"We are very excited to race in front of the Polish fans, on our home roads and to represent our sponsor CCC in the most prestigious race in Poland," said CCC Team Sports Director Piotr Wadecki. "As the first Polish WorldTour team, we want to bring excitement to our supporters, so we will look to race aggressively, aiming for stage wins and keeping an eye on the general classification. I believe we have a well-rounded line-up with opportunists, climbers and sprinters who are capable of delivering a good result."
Gradek and Owsian will look for opportunities in the breakaways throughout the race, while and Sajnok will mix it up in the sprint stages along with Mareczko. Pauwels and Geschke both just raced the Tour de France.
"Serge Pauwels and Simon Geschke are coming out of the Tour de France, and we saw that they were improving as the race went on so, they should be in good form and ready to battle for the overall," Wadecki said. "Amaro Antunes hasn’t raced since the Giro d’Italia but, he has had a solid block of training and will try to use his fresh legs on the mountain stages, which should suit him well."
Sajnok, a 21-year-old who raced with the CCC Sprandi Polkowice tam last year, will be making his debut in his home tour this year. He said the race is the main target for his season. He finished second to Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) during stage 4 of the Tour de Wallonie on Tuesday but quit the race the next day to begin preparing for Poland.
"It’s a dream of mine to win a stage here, and I know I’m capable of doing that," Sajnok said. "The first three stages should suit me and I’m very motivated. I feel good after the Belgian races, and I think that my altitude training in Livigno paid off. I will be fighting hard to proudly represent a Polish team at our home race."
Geschke, meanwhile, is hoping to carry his Tour de France form to Poland for a good result.
"I’m going there to have a strong week and hope to be in very good shape with the load of the Tour de France in my legs," he said. "I’ve seen in the past that some riders go very well at the Tour de Pologne after racing for three weeks in France. However, it can also go the opposite way, so I’m also being careful about not having too high expectations."
CCC Team for Tour de Pologne: Amaro Antunes, Simon Geschke, Kamil Gradek, Jakub Mareczko, Łukasz Owsian, Serge Pauwels, Szymon Sajnok