Former winner Rafal Majka returns to Tour de Pologne
Bora-Hansgrohe rider makes first appearance since 2014 victory
Abandoning the Tour de France after the first rest day due to multiple injuries, Rafał Majka will make his return to racing at the Tour de Pologne. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider will share team leadership with Peter Sagan at the WorldTour stage race starting July 29.
Majka won two stages and the overall Tour de Pologne title in 2014 and hasn't returned since the first GC win of his career. The 27-year-old explained that having recovered from his Tour injuries, he is excited to be back on home roads and will aim to challenge for the yellow jersey.
"I am very happy that I will participate in this year's Tour de Pologne. This race means so much to me. I won here in 2014. Since then I hadn't had the chance to ride in it again. So I am glad that this year I will have the opportunity to race in this event once more. After the crash that forced me to drop out of Tour de France, now I am back in training," said Majka. "I'm training at 100 percent; I feel good and strong. I do not want to make any declarations before the Tour de Pologne, but for sure I will fight in the mountain stages and give it everything I have. It is good that the route is even more difficult than the one in 2014. I will be happy to see Polish fans and I'm looking forward to their support."
Tour de Pologne race director Czeslaw Lang expressed his delight in securing Majka for the seven stage race, starting in Kraków, and finishing in Bukowina Tatrzanska.
It makes us and all the Polish fans and enthusiasts very happy to know that he has recovered from that fall and that he will definitely be on the starting grid for the Tour de Pologne," said Lang. "The memory of what he has achieved in Poland is still vivid in the hearts and minds of everyone who loves cycling. He accomplished an extraordinary feat with his victory in the 2014 Tour de Pologne, where he took home the yellow jersey by winning the two most spectacular stages - all this after having won two stages and the polka dot jersey as best climber in the Tour de France."
Lang added that the 2017 parcours is suited to the climbing strengths of Majka and expects the former national champion to shine in the mountains.
"Considering this year's route for the Tour de Pologne, with the two mountain stages in Zakopane and Bukowina Tatrzanska wrapping up the race, not to mention the never before seen climbing arrival in the 3rd stage at Szczyrk, I hope that in these days Majka can continue to do well in this period of recuperation and preparation, since he is aiming to have a good race and deliver lots of thrills to all the fans who come out," said Lang.
Vincenzo Nibali, who was third at the Giro d'Italia in May, has also been confirmed for the Tour de Pologne with Bahrain-Merida by the race organisers. Nibali hasn't raced since the Italian national championships as he has been at a training camp with his team in preparation for the Vuelta a Espana.
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By Josh Croxton