The team sizes for the 2017 Tour de Pologne will be reduced from eight riders down to seven following confirmation from the race director Czeslaw Lang, and the race's organising committee. The 74th edition of the Tour de Pologne starts in Kraków on July 29.
All 22 teams who will ride the WorldTour stage race, 18 WorldTour teams and four wild card squads, will start with seven riders in a 154 rider strong peloton. In a statement, Lang explained the decision was based on safety and opening up the potential for more exciting racing.
"We believe that this choice, which was approved by the UCI, can contribute to guaranteeing better safety in the race, a very important aspect that is always in the news headlines; it also plays a significant role in rendering the race even more exciting, especially in certain phases," Lang said. "For example, with one man less on every team, it could become more complicated for the group to control the race and catch up with fugitives. Besides us, the organizers of other World Tour races are moving in this direction."
Lang added that the race has been willing to embrace and trial new directions for professional cycling.
"After all, it means a lot to me to remind people that the Tour de Pologne, which has always been attentive to new trends, was already a pioneer in this one when some seasons ago, in 2013, we adhered to a pilot project in association with the UCI that lined up teams of 6 riders at the start," he added. "I have always sustained that it is essential to evaluate everything and try anything that can contribute to the safety of the riders and that will make our sport more spectacular, obviously within the limits allowed under the rules and regulations and over all using good sense."
The reduction of team sizes for the Tour de Pologne is also likely to assist WorldTour teams with the Clásica de San Sebastián (July 29) and RideLondon–Surrey Classic (July 30) taking place on the same opening weekend of the race. The BinckBank Tour is the next race on the WorldTour calendar, starting on August 7 in the Netherlands, just days after the Tour de Pologne concludes August 4 in Bukowina Tatrzańska.
Lotto-Soudal's Tim Wellens is the defending champion of the race although he won't defend his title as he heads instead to the Tour de France.
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